Parents back teachers, reforms

Parents believe teachers are doing a good job, but they also strongly support teacher-quality reforms, according to a new Joyce Foundation survey on parents’ attitudes on the quality of education.

While those surveyed said teachers  should be supported and paid more, they also wanted to use multiple measures, including student achievement growth, in teacher evaluation, compensation, and lay-off decisions. Parents also want “to remove ineffective teachers from the classroom and provide financial rewards to help teachers succeed.”

While only half of the parents say they’re familiar with Common Core standards, they overwhelmingly believe the new standards will improve education, the survey found.

Minority and low-income parents are more likely to see serious problems in their schools—from low expectations to bullying to out-of-date technology and textbooks—than those who are affluent or white,”  Ed Week notes.

About Joanne


  1. Hi Joanne,

    This quote is a bit out of context: the focus groups I was describing in my note were conducted by the PIE Network; I wasn’t commenting on the Joyce Foundation’s excellent work. Their polls find similar things to what we also heard from parents in our groups, but they were separate efforts and samples conducted months apart from each other.


  2. So it would seem the situation is that parents have faith in teachers and would prefer to see objective measures of performance – trust but verify. Not the formulation one would expect were trust the dominant sentiment.

    Beyond that it’s nice to know the Joyce Foundation’s spending its money to uncover the fact that parents care about their kids. A courageous leap into the unknown in pursuit of knowledge relevant to the education of society’s children. Or not.

    Mostly not.

    The question that begs to be asked is why faith is tempered by the desire for verification? Or rather, why the pretense of faith since a demand for verification makes a mockery of that claimed faith?

    Alas, the researchers did not choose to attempt to unravel this conundrum.

    But never let it be said that research sponsored by the Joyce Foundation is empty of humor, if unintentional humor:

    “Unfortunately, this survey also shows that policymakers and district leaders must do a better job at engaging and partnering with parents,”

    Gosh, ya think? Sadly, this bon mot results in another unasked, but not unapparent question: what is it about policymakers and district leaders that they do such a poor job of engaging and partnering with parents?

    One would think that policymakers and district leaders would be eager to engage and partner with parents so the all-important job of educating kids would be done in a manner satisfactory to parents. Yet those policymakers and district leaders engage and partner with parents to such a limited extent that the lack merits special mention.


    Now that’s an important question in itself, of which our intrepid researchers seem entirely unaware.

    I wonder, are education researchers born incurious, achieve such a comment-worthy lack of curiosity or do they have their lack of curiosity thrust upon them? Aw, who cares.

  3. Roger Sweeny says:

    “While only half of the parents say they’re familiar with Common Core standards, they overwhelmingly believe the new standards will improve education, the survey found.”

    Half say they are familiar with the Common Core standards? I doubt even 5% know more than a few newspaper stories or tv pieces, which tell them that the new standards are supported by various education eminences and that they will make education more rigorous.

    Back at the beginning of the Reagan administration, there was media coverage of his cabinet choices. Much of the coverage included some language like, “observers were disappointed.” A poll found that most people considered the cabinet disappointing–though few of them could name even one member!

    The poll tells us virtually nothing about how Americans feel about what is in the Common Core. But it strongly suggests that Americans are still optimistic about their schools.