The Public Speaks: Education Still Matters


The Public Education Network (PEN) recently released its 2008 National Civic Index Poll, which addresses the public’s views on school progress and the strength of community commitment to helping improve education.

The poll was first conducted in 2006. According to the 2008 poll results, the public’s concern for education has diminished a bit since 2006, with rising gas prices and the current economic state of the nation now taking priority. But Americans still greatly value education, and 60 percent feel that not enough focus is being placed on education in this year’s election campaigns. Most Americans also feel that elected officials are not being held accountable for improving schools.

As of now, eight cities and counties will implement PEN’s civic index tool kit and use it to develop a local “report card” that measures community support for education. The goal is to involve the public in the school improvement process.

ASCD believes that involving the community is a necessary part of educating the whole child. Schools can’t do it all; success stems from collaboration with all key stakeholders, including community members, school officials, students, and parents.

What is your community doing to improve its schools? What community–school partnerships have had the most impact?