What’s wrong with America’s public education system: A call for higher quality education leadership

William Woods EDU

In August, Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) International, a professional association for educators, released their 2016 survey of Critical Issues in Public Education, weighing Americans’ opinions of public schools.

The survey found that the public is split on a wide array of fundamental issues in public education regarding funding, curriculum, priorities, educational standards and goals.

For instance, when asked what the primary role of a school should be, 45 percent of respondents stated that academic achievement should be the main goal (and only one third of those marked they ‘strongly believed’ this). A quarter, on the other hand, felt the school’s main priority should be to prepare students for the workforce, while another 25 percent saw a school’s primary role to be creating good citizens.

“With the right curriculum and pedagogy,” explained Joshua P. Starr, chief executive officer of PDK International, “these purposes don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”

Sixty-eight percent of participants said they would prefer schools to focus more on career/technical-skill based classes rather than offering more honors or advanced academic classes.

One major factor influencing the opinion of parents surveyed on public schools was the degree of communication and input they felt they had with their local school, as well as the school’s ability to keep parents informed.

“Satisfaction and involvement go hand in hand,” the PDK survey states. “Parents who rate their schools positively on keeping them informed, inviting them to visit, offering them opportunities to provide input and showing interest in their input are more apt to feel involved with their child’s school overall.”

In another aspect of the poll, when asked what should happen to a public school that has been failing for a number of years, 84 percent of respondents said the best approach would be to keep it open and try to improve the school, rather than close it. In a 2-1 margin, however, those same respondents said the administration and faculty in such schools should be replaced rather than provided more resources and support staff.

The parents and the public as a whole are looking for the quality profile of administration and faculty in public schools to be raised, and for these well-trained, expertly prepared education leaders to come in and begin to confront the major issues raised in this survey.

From the Masters of Education in Administration or Curriculum and Instruction to the Doctorate in Education Leadership, William Woods prepares the next generation of expert education leaders to go out and improve/design new curriculum, influence and create effective education systems, and change the future of education for the better.

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