Press Release

AFT Statement on PDK/Gallup Poll: Americans Want Investment in Public Schools;Reject Austerity, Testing, Opt-Outs

For Release: 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Marcus Mrowka
202-531-0689 (cell)

WASHINGTON— Statement by AFT President Randi Weingarten on the 2013 Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools:

"This poll makes it clear that the American people soundly reject the agenda being pushed by austerity hawks and market-based reformers to starve public schools of resources and fixate instead on testing, opt-outs and sanctions. Americans want to invest in public schools and ensure children learn the skills they need to compete in the 21st century, and they are united in trusting public school teachers and having faith in public schools. These results mirror what we found in our national poll of parents.

"It's also no surprise that Americans have very little knowledge or understanding about the Common Core State Standards, as states and districts, aided by the Race to the Top grants, have defined it through the lens of testing rather than using this transition period to provide the supports and investments needed to help teachers, parents and students make the Common Core real. But Americans support teaching children the critical-thinking, communications and collaboration skills they need to compete in the 21st century—all skills embedded in the Common Core.

"While the PDK/Gallup poll showed strong support for charters—which is consistent with past poll results—there is a different result based on the way the question is asked. When parents are asked to choose between charters and neighborhood public schools, as the AFT parent poll released last month found, 77 percent say that ensuring every child has access to a good public school is the best way to improve public education.

"What's clear in poll after poll is that parents and teachers have a shared vision for how we reclaim the promise of public education and ensure all children reach their full potential. It's time for policymakers to change course and listen to what the American people want for their schools."

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.