Americans Love Their Local Schools

One major point stood out like a bright light in the dark in the 47th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll about the public’s attitudes toward public schools – Americans love their local neighborhood schools.

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According to the poll’s analysis, “Americans consistently give the highest grades to the schools that are closest to them and that they may have more experience with and the lowest grades to schools farthest away, a pattern that has held across 40 years of the PDK/Gallup poll.”

Of course, we have to ask why? And the answer is actually quite simple.

It’s the personal experience factor. Political scientist Robert Shapiro believes that, “Americans form their opinions about their local schools through their own contact with the schools and what their children are saying. What they experience more personally, they tend to have more favorable views about.”

Stephanie Kafka from Gallup also notes that, “These things are largely perspective. People have good day-to-day experiences with the schools they know, and they have fewer day-to-day positive experiences with the schools they don’t know. It’s more likely that you’ve seen enough at the local level to make yourself feel good about what they’re doing.”

As Jill Berkowicz and Ann Myers opine in EdWeek, “the love expressed by Americans for their community schools is the educational sweet spot for community and parental involvement and investment on the local level. Within the school and district, successful leaders prioritize bringing consensus around the core values, and around the central issues, practices, and messages of the school. School leaders can begin the invitation to the community by reaching out to even the most reluctant parents of elementary school children.”

In other words, “the sweet spot” in parent involvement is being connected with the local neighborhood school. Here, at The Latino Family Literacy Project, the connection to local schools is front and center in setting up successful parent involvement programs. See what parents have to say about The Latino Family Literacy Project and see for yourself how this program creates personal connections with the parents and students and schools.

Katherine Del MonteAmericans Love Their Local Schools