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Breaking Down Biases: Context, When It Comes to Education, is a Better Indicator of Public Opinion

Critical Analysis of the 46th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools

CER Analysis
August 2014

Informed public opinion happens when there are proper definitions and context in polling. While public knowledge of certain facets of American education like Common Core and charter schools has increased with time, surveys such as America’s Attitudes Towards Education Reform that consistently provide context for respondents are better indicators of America’s attitudes because they allow respondents to more fully understand the issues at hand, allowing for more educated judgments.

Unfortunately, the conductors of the PDK/Gallup poll have yet again attempted to curtail the American public’s true perceptions of education issues by using misleading questions and failing to provide proper context to all respondents.

The following is a topical, point-by-point analysis that compares the 46th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools with other public opinion polling to set the record straight and provide a clearer picture of what Americans truly think about education today.

 

What PDK/Gallup Says on Charter Schools:

⋅ “Fourteen years ago, we wrote the question about charter schools at a time when most Americans were unfamiliar with them. For that reason, we added a descriptor indicating that ‘charter schools operate under a charter or contract that frees them from many of the state regulations imposed on public schools and permits them to operate independently.’”

⋅ “We have become increasingly uncomfortable with this question because we hesitate offering explanations that can bias the response, particularly as more Americans are familiar with charter schools. For this reason, we asked half of the respondents in our random sample the legacy question with the descriptor and the other half of the respondents the more direct question: “Do you favor or op- pose the idea of

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Intriguing At Best, Rarely Accurate – Annual PDK Poll

The PDK annual poll on “The Public’s Attitudes Towards the Public Schools” is always intriguing but rarely an accurate assessment of what people think. Since I founded the Center for Education Reform, the poll has consistently defied commonly accepted polling practices that expect questions to be defined before they are asked. Thus year after year, while parents are clamoring for options and new innovations, and are frustrated with the status quo, the PDK-Gallup Poll reports support for convention and opposition to Parent Power. This is the first in many years the media has covered it!

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2011 Jeanne Allen Memo: PDK/Gallup Poll Call for Facts

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