A recent Gallup Poll resulted in another negative hit for public schools. The headline of this Gallup article tells it all.
Confidence in U.S. Public Schools at New Low
Americans' confidence in public schools is down five percentage points from last year, with 29% expressing "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in them. That establishes a new low in public school confidence from the 33% measured in Gallup's 2007 and 2008 Confidence in Institutions polls. The high was 58% the first time Gallup included public schools, in 1973.
Why? Could it be that, except at the local level, there is very little positive coverage in the media? What data do people use when making these judgments? Below, is a chart that shows results of the same poll for education since its inceptions in 1973. It suggests that over this period of time there has never been a year when greater than 60% of the respondents felt a great deal of confidence in public schools.
What will it take to change the trend line to a positive direction? Part of the answer must be found in the media. As long as everything we read, see, and hear is negative the mental models that people hold about our profession will not change. If we can't do it in the next two years it will become even more difficult when the common core assessments are implemented because of the expected low scores as schools adjust to the new standards.
Kind of interesting that the title of the article is about public schools when there are lower scores for many other surveyed institutions. For example, Congress comes in at 13% and HMO's at 19%. At the other end of the list is the military at 75% and small business at 63%. Public schools are in the middle of the list, yet we made the headline for the negative result.