Ed Secretary Duncan’s View Of Parents?

Every year a Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll is done on “Public Attitudes Toward The Public Schools.” You can read a summary of the results over at my other blog.

In the poll, local schools were given a grade of an A or B by well over two-thirds of people participating in the poll, but only 19% would give a similar rating to the nation’s public schools.

Well-known education researcher Stephen Krashen has a guest post in the Washington Post blog “The Answer Sheet” and comments on those results, as well as highlighting a quote from Education Secretary Duncan that I missed:

“In a column accompanying the poll, [educational psychologist] Gerald Bracey (“Experience outweighs rhetoric”) gives a logical explanation for this phenomenon: “Americans never hear anything positive about the nation’s schools,” noting that “negative information flows almost daily from media, politicians, and ideologues.”

Bracey’s many columns in the Kappan and his books provide overwhelming evidence that this perception of the quality of the nation’s schools is undeserved.

In an interview in the same issue of the Kappan (“Quality education is our moon shot“) Education Secretary [Arne] Duncan gives his opinion of why people think local schools are better than schools in general: “Too many people don’t understand how bad their own schools are.”

Duncan thinks that parents need to be ‘woken up’ to see that their own children are being short-changed. In other words, they are not to be trusted on evaluating the quality of their own child’s education, despite the fact that they are daily witnesses to the results of their child’s schooling.”

Instead of viewing parents as needing to be “woken-up” and be made to think that their local schools are bad, perhaps it is schools (and leaders like the Secretary) that could use some waking-up to recognize the challenges and stresses in the lives of their student’s families and in the life of the community where they are located.  Maybe then schools (and Secretary Duncan) can also wake-up to considering a possible role in connecting to families and other local institutions (and helping them to connect to each other) and playing a significant role in attacking some of the major problems that affect student achievement that lay outside the schoolhouse doors.

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