In a recent survey and study published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which focuses on education issues and public policy, parents were split as to their priorities in K-12 education.
The authors, Dara Zeehandelar and Amber Winkler (both who hold Ph.D.’s), discovered that parents all want a core curriculum based on reading and math with emphases in science, technology, engineering and math education (also known as STEM), but in addition they said that parents wanted a variety of specializations.
Some of the highly-prioritized specializations and emphases for parents were:
- Life skills;
- High academic standards;
- Programs for gifted students;
- Character development;
- Using technology;
- High standards for behavior; and
- Hands-on learning
The specializations that parents put in the middle of their list of concerns, at least in the survey, were:
- Ability grouping;
- Extracurricular activities, other than sports;
- Vocational classes;
- Parental involvement;
- Diversity in the student body;
- High test scores; and
- Test preparation.
What were the lowest priorities among parents? They were “small enrollment,” “after-school programs” and “strong athletics,” with “school uniforms” rounding out the bottom. Thus do parents dismiss the silver bullets of putative education reformers.
Students also had a different take on education as far as their priorities and rankings go:
- Self-discipline and study habits;
- Communication skills;
- Critical thinking;
- College preparedness
- Social skills;
- Love of learning;
- Identify personal interests;
- Self-esteem; and
- Strong morals
What were the lower-ranking aspects of the student survey? That would be “values diversity” and “knows importance of college” along with “job skills,” “foreign language,” and “appreciation of nature.”
Spencer Irvine is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.
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