Washington, D.C.–The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is very pleased with the findings in the 38th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Towards the Public Schools. The results show that Americans overwhelmingly believe that the public school system is viable and should be the focus in the school reform movement. Of those surveyed, 71% believe the existing public school system should be repaired, rather than looking to alternative systems.

Other findings that are in line with NASSP’s message of school reform include:

*60% of respondents oppose the voucher system
–NASSP opposes any proposal that would divert money away from public schools. Although voucher programs are often proposed as a means to respond to low academic achievement, there is little evidence to support this theory. In reality, vouchers detract from the goal of comprehensive public school reform.

* 24% of respondents cite the lack of financial support as the biggest problem facing public schools–Currently, the federal investment in education hovers around eight percent, but most of that funding is appropriated to elementary schools and postsecondary institutions. NASSP has consistently advocated for additional federal funding and support for middle level and high schools, believing that the success of our secondary school students must be a national priority.

*56% of respondents favor a college-preparatory curriculum for high school students
–NASSP encourages all schools to increase academic rigor for all students
–NASSP urges support for programs such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment courses which encourage students to take college level courses while in high school, and the State Scholars Program, which requires high school students to take at least three years of math and science, three and one-half years of social studies, four years of English, and two years of foreign language courses to be academically prepared for postsecondary education and the workplace.

The PDK/Gallup Poll shows that the public is also concerned about the number of teachers who leave the profession in the first five years. This finding suggests that the initial step in attracting more high-quality teachers should be an effort to make the job more attractive to those who have already entered the profession. NASSP believes that teachers should be provided with the time and resources necessary for ongoing, job embedded professional development (i.e., common planning, team teaching, interdisciplinary work and formal education) for both teachers and school leaders.

NASSP executive director, Gerald N. Tirozzi states, “These and many other informative findings in the poll send a strong message that we have to focus on public schools if we want to truly overhaul the education system in this country. If taxpaying Americans still believe in the public school system, lawmakers at both the state and federal level should as well. Education leaders and policymakers should look to the information in this poll as an excellent point of reference to what parents, grandparents and others in the community want in the school reform movement.”

To read the full report, visit: www.pdkintl.org.

About NASSP

Celebrating 90 years of excellence in school leadership, NASSP is the preeminent organization and the national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders. NASSP provides its members with the professional resources to serve as visionary leaders. NASSP promotes the intellectual growth, academic achievement, character development, leadership development, and physical well being of youth through its programs and student leadership services. NASSP administers the National Honor Society”, National Junior Honor Society”, and National Association of Student Councils”. For more information, visit www.principals.org .

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