AASA Statement on the 2015 PDK Gallup Poll

James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Alexandria, Va. – Aug. 23, 2015 – Daniel A. Domenech, the executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement today upon the release of the 47th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.

“AASA applauds PDK International and Gallup for the invaluable information being shared through the longest-running survey of attitudes toward education. At a time when AASA is working to bolster the effectiveness of school district leadership in urban settings, we are pleased that for the first time, this year’s poll is reporting opinions among whites, blacks and Hispanics because of a web-based poll with a larger sample of approximately 3,500 U.S. adults.

According to the poll, most Americans affirm there is ‘too much emphasis on standardized testing.’ This finding is no surprise. A student filling in bubbles cannot measure his or her independent thinking or creativity. Meanwhile, families in several states are resorting to civil disobedience in order to get political attention regarding what they consider a destructive emphasis on testing. California’s board of education recently voted to suspend the use of standardized tests as the primary measure of school quality. 

“We are pleased yet not surprised to see a majority of public school parents give their local schools either an “A” or “B” for performance. Evidence shows our public schools are doing extremely well. The dropout rate is at an all-time low, high school graduation rates are rising and more students are completing a more challenging curriculum.

“The 2015 survey finds the lack of financial support to be a major hurdle facing local schools. We know that public school districts are operating with limited school budgets as they try to educate 50 million students every year. Many of these students live in poverty—the single biggest factor in determining academic achievement.

“The poll found more than half (54 percent) of those surveyed oppose having local teachers use the Common Core Standards to guide what they teach. South Carolina and Oklahoma have dropped out of the Common Core entirely, and other states are rethinking their commitments. Superintendents are supportive of the standards but many have expressed concern over how the test results will be used and interpreted.

“The poll affirms that an overwhelming majority of Americans do not favor vouchers. We feel voucher programs are not successful. What’s more, a drop in funding for public schools would hurt some of the most disadvantaged students attending these schools.

“We congratulate PDK International and Gallup for providing information that will help us as we work to carry out meaningful change in public education.”


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.