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    For Immediate Release


    Anne H. Gallagher, NJASA Director of Communications, 609-599-2900, ext. 126, agallagher@njasa.net

    Mary Appelmann, SGW, 973-263-5182, mappelmann@sgw.com

    Nancy Sergeant, SGW, 973-263-5471, nsergeant@sgw.com



    Gallup Poll reveals American attitudes toward public schools, including teacher evaluation and characteristics of teachers who make a positive difference



    TRENTON, N.J. September 27, 2012 —Teachers who have positive influences in our lives share common characteristics, including caring for students and making a personal connection, according to the 44th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. The finding was an area of consensus in a poll that had Americans divided over a number of topics, including whether teachers should be evaluated by student test scores.


    The poll surveyed 1,002 American adults nationwide about finances and budgets, illegal immigrants, politics, bullying, common core curriculum standards, teacher evaluation, confidence in teachers and schools, and school improvement. PDK, a global association of education professionals, has conducted this poll with Gallup annually since 1969. The poll serves as an opportunity for parents, educators, and legislators to assess public opinion about public schools. The 2012 findings are based on telephone interviews conducted in May and June 2012.


    One question asked respondents to “think about the teacher who has had the most positive influence in your life” and “describe how that teacher made a difference.” In order of frequency, responses included “caring, encouraging, attentive/believed in me, strict/tough/discipline, challenging/demanding, good/great teacher, committed/dedicated.”


    “Caring and encouraging is what people remember,” said Richard Bozza, Ed.D., executive director of the NJASA. “No one said the teacher who made a positive difference helped me increase my test scores two points, and that’s an important distinction. If we’re not careful, our focus on testing will cause us to lose the inspiration that is built by great teachers.”


    Americans were almost evenly divided on whether states should require that teachers be evaluated on student standardized test scores. Of the 52% who favored standardized tests as part of the evaluation, almost half said this should represent between one-third and two-thirds of the teacher’s evaluation. For the third year in a row, three out of four Americans said they have trust and confidence in the men and women who teach children in public schools.


    William Bushaw, executive director of PDK International and co-director of the PDK/Gallup Poll noted that “it is reassuring to know that, despite the recognition that our schools need improvement, more than 70 percent of Americans do have trust and confidence in our public school teachers.”

    Poll respondents voiced conflicting viewpoints on a number of issues, from investing in schools to paying for the education of illegal immigrants. They expressed consensus on core curriculum standards to provide consistency in education, and the need to improve urban schools. For highlights, see the NJASA video on the 2012 Gallup Poll.

    About NJASA

    The New Jersey Association of School Administrators is an organization of chief education officers and school administrators who lead school districts in New Jersey’s 21 counties. The association’s mission is to ensure a superior statewide system of education. Through ongoing professional training and education, the association shares knowledge among its members about best practices from both educational and administrative perspectives. Its goal is to move education forward by ensuring the highest quality of instruction for all New Jersey children.


    Education Brief Videos Explain Budget Considerations

    What schools can offer to students is directly affected by budget. Due to the complexity of the school budget cuts and the effects that will be felt in schools across the state, the NJASA has released a series of videos to help parents and taxpayers better understand the issues, and the potential aftermath of the events and changes. Each video can be accessed on a special NJASA YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/TheNJASA or by clicking on the YouTube icon on the NJASA website, www.njasa.net.


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