This from Betsy Landers, President of the National PTA in Transforming Learning:
2012 PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes toward the Public Schools released recently. Public perception varies widely on issues from the college-readiness of all students to school vouchers.
Perhaps more revealing are the issues on which our nation agrees. We agree we need to close the achievement gap, support schools in urban areas, and do something about the lack of financial support plaguing our schools.
In fact, the poll showed lack of funding for education as the No. 1 concern of parents, outdistancing the top response from 10 years ago, drugs and violence in schools. Nationally, 35 percent of responses cited lack of funding as the biggest challenge facing their schools. Among public school parents, 43 percent cited funding as the biggest challenge. Regretfully, the challenge will loom even larger if the $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts Congress agreed to in last summer's debt limit deal materialize this coming January. "Sequestration" would have a potentially devastating impact on public education funding, and would disproportionately affect high need districts already struggling to do much more with far less. Our public education system is facing a very frightening and very real reality.
What's worse is that lack of funding contributes to so many of the other issues affecting student achievement, whether it's the achievement gap, the dropout rate or even the nutritional value of school lunches. It's no wonder that 70 percent of respondents support giving parents whose children attend a failing school the option of mounting a petition drive to request removal of the teachers and principal.
Enrollment is up. Need is up. Resources are down. With so many struggles, parents and communities must be empowered to drive change, but until education funding becomes a top priority in state capitals and on Capitol Hill, parents need to think beyond their individual communities and advocate for all children in every district, across their state and across the nation. The challenges that parents face are shared, as should be fighting for the solutions...