Poll: In public education, Americans want more than academicsby Erin Murphy
Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) recently released the results of their 48th Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. This report, Why school? Americans speak out on education goals, standards, priorities and funding, identifies what Americans believe should be the primary goals of public education and what standards, priorities and funding should exist to support these goals.
These findings of the report suggest there is not a consensus on what the primary goal of public education should be. Only 45 percent of adult Americans believe that the main goal of education preparing students academically should be. Meanwhile, alternate views of public education are gaining popularity: 25 percent of Americans believe the goal of public education should be to prepare students for work, and 26 percent believe the goal should be to prepare students for citizenship. Additionally, respondents felt that the development of good work habits was a more important goal for schools than providing factual information. This shift in public attitude on the role of public education—toward success beyond academics—is reflected by the public’s preference for offering more career-technical or skills-based classes (68 percent) instead of more honors or advanced academic classes (21 percent).
Afterschool has a long history of focusing on youth success beyond academics, reflecting and responding to Americans’ expanding desires for public education. Besides providing academic support—such as tutoring, homework help, and academic enrichment—programs are supporting students’ passions, introducing students to careers, and developing their 21st Century skills. Because of this, afterschool is great a partner for the public school system in supporting education, growth and student success more broadly.
Learn more about Americans' perceptions of education:
Check out all of the outcomes from this report to learn more about American’s perception of public schools.