SAINT LEO, Fla., Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 60 percent of the respondents to a Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey conducted nationally and in Florida say they are willing to "pay somewhat more in taxes to better fund public schools in my community."
The responses seem in keeping with a view held by 69.4 percent of those polled nationally, and 67.8 percent of those polled in Florida, that schools are either significantly or somewhat underfunded.
Dr. Karen Hahn, education faculty member at Saint Leo University, said the apparent willingness to put more money into schools is a bit surprising, but a welcome development.
For instance, 54.7 percent of respondents nationally, and 57 percent in Florida said the quality of public education in the United States today is either poor or very poor. Yet in their own communities, the picture was reversed, with 54.4 percent nationally saying their local schools were good or very good, and 50.8 percent in Florida. Dr. Hahn attributed the apparent disconnect to the influence of media stories on problems in education that lead people to believe the public system nationally is faring poorly while people feel: "I know what happens in my children's school, and it's good."
Adults generally support testing students at specific grade levels, 80.1 percent nationally, to ensure children are learning, but support for Common Core standards lag behind, at just 61.8 percent nationally.
As an educator and parent, Dr. Hahn said she doesn't consider Common Core itself to be the cause of trouble. "The standards themselves are actually good," she said. "But when they are tied to high-stakes testing, the test becomes the focus of the curriculum, and it takes the creativity out of the classroom. Common Core has the recognizable name, so it gets blamed."
As parents have seen children exposed to this environment for years, they have become disenchanted with the results, Dr. Hahn believes. "What I think is that many parents are saying: 'No more.' '' It is that frustration that likely led 45 percent of respondents in both the state and national sample to say they would at some level approve of families allowing children to opt out of standardized tests. "I'm not sure that would even have happened before," Dr. Hahn said.
SOURCE Saint Leo University Polling Institute