About this time last year, I was puzzling over the presence of a strange phantom statistic quoted by NEA in the wake of the annual PDK/Gallup national education poll. The statistic was eventually released weeks after the rest of the poll, which means NEA didn’t lie about it. They did, however, get special access to an unverifiable number that happened to support their very strong push against evaluation systems that include student growth. No one can easily refute poll results without, you know, having the poll results, so NEA got some good mileage out of that one.
But there’s no use crying over spilled statistics. Besides, the main reason I was interested in that number in the first place was the fact that it stood in stark contrast with data gathered by another nationally representative poll conducted by Education Next—data showing clear public support for the use of student performance when making teacher tenure decisions. This year, though, the polls appear to mostly agree with one another on testing issues. Not that NEA or AFT are very keen on sharing that fact.
The 2015 version of the annual Education Next poll and its associated report have been in the wild for some time now. The PDK/Gallup results have also been released. I strongly encourage you to dig through both polls, as there is very interesting stuff in each, much of which is broken out by subgroups that show important (and illuminating) differences. Highlights include some fascinating data on declining support for Common Core, as well interesting insights into the role the federal government ought to have in education. But perhaps the most interesting results of the polls have to do with public support for testing. Continue Reading »