Gauging Public Opinion of Your Schools

By Nora Carr

For a nation supposedly riveted by the notion of data-driven decision-making, data does not seem to matter when it comes to charter schools, vouchers, and other alternatives to public schools.

Most Americans, for example, likely would be shocked to learn that charters outperform traditional public schools only 17 percent of the time, according to the nation’s most comprehensive study. At the same time, public belief in public school quality has reached all-time lows nationally, despite a wealth of data indicating higher high school graduation rates and better academic performance by many student groups.

With public education -- along with teachers, school board members, superintendents, central office employees, and principals -- under attack in multiple state legislatures, perhaps district leaders need to spend more time reforming public opinion and less time reforming schools. 

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