Americans’ confidence in public schools is growing

According to the recent PDK International survey, the percentage of Americans who give their community’s public schools an ‘A’ is at its highest in more than 40 years of PDK polling. Sixty-two percent of public school parents give public schools in their own communities an A or B grade (The percentage dips to 45% with nonparents). When parents grade their own child’s school, grades improve even more, to 71%.

Read more at NEA Today:

Survey: Americans’ Confidence in Public Schools Is Growing

It’s well-known that the American people generally have a more favorable opinion of institutions when viewed through a local, as opposed to a state or national, prism. Public schools are no exception. Most individuals give their neighborhood schools high marks but have a more negative assessment of the nation’s schools overall.

Cultivate family and community engagement to boost student achievement, Evers says

From the Department of Public Instruction

Evers_200px“Families are our biggest allies in our work to increase student learning and close achievement gaps so all students graduate college and career ready,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said Thursday in reviewing recommendations from his Parent Advisory Council.

Evers presented the report during his state education address at the State Capitol. The State Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council examined the Promoting Excellence for All initiative, taking a fresh and deeper look at how Wisconsin schools can engage families of the lowest-performing students so they are partners in their children’s success.

While Wisconsin schools have many strengths, assessment and graduation data consistently confirm achievement gaps for students of color, economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and English language learners.

“To change achievement gaps that exist in too many of our schools throughout the state, we must cultivate family and community engagement practices that validate families as experts on their children and partners in their students’ success,” Evers said. “The work of effective instruction, positive student and teacher relationships, and school and instructional leadership hinges on strong partnerships with families. We all have a role to play in closing achievement gaps.”

With the start of a new school year, the report from the Parent Advisory Council encourages schools and educators to ask what more can be done to tap into families’ innate desires to help children and young people succeed in school. Council members recommend that schools “accept families as they are and make frequent efforts to know, listen to, and learn from parents.”

According to the council, schools must connect families to student learning in a variety of ways throughout the year. To make families partners and decision makers in closing student achievement gaps, successful schools:

• recognize and build upon students’ unique cultural and family strengths, • communicate regularly with families in their languages and invite families to share their knowledge and needs, (more) Family and Community Engagement – Page 2 • create multiple ways for all families to gain skills and knowledge that support children’s learning and achieve school goals, and • help families become aware of and use community resources that prepare every child to be college and career ready.

Evers encouraged educators to explore the Parent Advisory Council report, which is part of the Promoting Excellence for All website.

“Ask parents, grandparents, and community members what they need to support children’s learning. Enlist their help in building relationships that help close achievement gaps,” he said. “Our children are so precious.”

The State Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council is made up of parents, grandparents, and community members who are representative of the geographic and cultural diversity of Wisconsin’s public school students.

Wauwatosa parents tell their legislators, ‘Stop the nonsense and tell the truth’

Concerned parents involved in the Wauwatosa Support Our Schools organization are firing back at their own legislators following a meeting in which they felt Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) and Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) did not adequately listen to their concerns about the future of their kids’ schools. In a statement, Wauwatosa Support Our Schools (SOS) President Mary Young said:

Stop the nonsense and tell the truth.

The fact of the matter is that we parents have not been able to mow our grass for weeks and have unwashed dishes in the sink because these legislators keep coming up with new ways to take funding away from our kids’ schools. With all due apologies to our neighbors, we will do whatever it takes to protect our kids.

Our legislators are lying to us.

First, we have never changed our goals. We do not want our kids’ schools to be cut. The actions by Senator Vukmir and Representative Kooyenga will result in a cut to our schools. The bottom line is this: Our schools will see no increase in funding the first year and a $100 increase in the second year, an increase that becomes a decrease when the new voucher schools syphon the money away and when you account for inflation. A cut by any other name is still a cut.

What Sen. Vukmir and Rep. Kooyenga cannot deny is that they are taking money from our public schools and giving it to private schools. Also, they cannot deny that as a result of their actions, Wisconsin schools will fall below the national average for per pupil spending for the first time ever.

Second, we have not been listened to. While we have sent thousands of postcards, left hundreds of messages and attended a number of listening sessions, most of which neither the senator or the representative were confirmed, we have never spoken directly to our representative or senator. We don’t know who our legislators are listening to, but we can assure you that it is not us.

Third, contrary to our legislators’ assertions, we want all students in the state to attend quality schools like the ones where our children in Wauwatosa go. But contrary to what our legislators suggest, voucher schools are not accountable to taxpayers, they do not perform better than public schools (check the research) and a syphon on money that is earmarked for our kids’ public education.

Taken together, our legislators are committed to a narrative that lacks the truth. As parents, we are committed to calling them on this and if necessary, giving them timeouts.

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