WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools:
“In no uncertain terms, the public is saying end the fixation on and misuse of testing. Americans are fed up with the overemphasis and high-stakes consequences of standardized tests. They’ve seen those consequences and effects first hand and now oppose the Common Core State Standards and using test scores in teacher evaluations. What’s infuriating is that parents and teachers have repeatedly raised the red flag over high-stakes testing, but policymakers routinely dismissed them.
“The public has not walked away from higher standards or accountability. They, like teachers and their union, have a far better grasp than the policy makers, who reduced everything to a test score. The public and teachers believe measures, such as student engagement, examples of student work, teacher grades, observations by teachers and graduation rates, are much better indicators of student, school and teacher progress.
“Parents and the public get what’s needed for kids to have a great education: less testing, more funding, strong curriculum, good teaching in small class sizes. And, as an ongoing indictment of the inequity and austerity measures schools have faced, for the 10th year in a row, the public continues to believe that there is insufficient financial support for schools. The staying power of this finding shows that Americans understand the need to invest in schools and the resources and supports that kids need to succeed.
“This poll and many others show that the public wants great public schools. If policymakers believe all kids should have equal opportunity for a quality public education, they should start listening to the public and give our schools and kids what they need for a bright future.”