Just as soon as mums start getting color, just as shorebird migration is in full swing, and just as college football rankings start, PDK kicks off the new school year with a healthy of dose of irritation. For 47 years the PDK poll has welcomed the new school year by trumpeting discord. It celebrates the diversity of ideas that make our democracy by casting them as lack consensus. If people had no differences, if consensus ruled, there would be no need for polls.
While PDK is an outstanding organization and its annual poll an important snapshot of public opinion, I take exception with U.S. News & World Report’s lead presentation of the poll’s findings – “There is no consensus among the public about the role of the public school system in the U.S.”
Notably, the poll shows that only 45 percent of respondents thought the main goal of public education should be preparing students academically, while the rest was split between the main goal being preparing students for work or preparing them to be good citizens.
These three “roles” of public education are so similar, so intertwined, so core, that we might conclude that children can’t …