The DeHavilland Blog

Sunday, October 01, 2006

View from the top

Public Agenda just released the latest in a series of surveys on public education, this one reporting on the perceptions of principals and superintendents toward public education. It’s a stunning read.

Apparently, while the rest of us are concerned about the state of public education, the people in charge think things are going quite well. Some highlights:

  • 93% of superintendents, and 80% of principals, think public schools offer a better education than in the past, and most (86% and 82%) think the material is harder.
  • Despite the call from the business community for a great focus on science/math, 59% of superintendents and 66% say that the statement “kids are not taught enough science and math” is not a serious problem in their schools.
  • 77% of superintendents and 79% of principals say that the statement “academic standards are too low, and kids are not expected to learn enough” is not a serious problem in their schools.
  • 51% of superintendents say that local schools are excellent; 43% say they are good.
  • Only 27% of superintendents, compared with 62% of teachers, say it’s a serious problem that too many students get passed through the system without learning.
  • 76% of superintendents and 59% of principals, compared with 33% of high school teachers, say that students graduating from middle school have the reading, writing, and math skills needed to succeed in high school.

There’s much more in the report – if you want to fully enter a state of disbelief, it’s worth reading the entire thing. But the selected results above should be enough to point out that there’s something very, very wrong here.

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