Paul Peterson and Martin West with EducationNext released a blog post today based on a survey showing 67% of the public want federal testing requirements for students and oppose opt-out. This is from a survey sent to 700 teachers and 3,300 members of the public. You know what, I can send out a survey and it means nothing without knowing who your sample groups are. I know if I put a survey up on my blog that it is going to skew towards my target audience: concerned parents and disgruntled teachers. I would never base public policy off those numbers.
But EducationNext is led by folks like Michael Petrilli with the Thomas Fordham Institute, a long-time supporter of charter schools and high-stakes testing, so I shouldn’t be surprised. He is also a fellow at the Hoover Institution, who is the publisher of the EducationNext blog. So I challenge Peterson, West and Petrilli to show who this survey was sent to.
We found little public sympathy for the “opt-out” point of view. Only 25% of the public like the idea, while 59% oppose it, the remainder taking a neutral position. Among parents themselves, just 32% favored the opt-out approach, while 52% opposed it. Fifty-seven percent of the teachers also reacted negatively to the idea, with only 32% lending it support. Clearly, the public favors the Senate education bill’s approach to this issue over that of the bill that passed the House.
Clearly is a strong word, and I would want a much larger sample size to base your ideological arguments off of. Because I really don’t believe 57% of teachers are opposed to opt-out, and aside from the ones coerced into these reformer agenda think tanks, most favor it.
Of these 700 teachers, how many were sent to local district teachers? Since they represent the largest group of teachers, I would assume at least 75% of the surveys went to them. But if it was sent to mostly charter school and Teach For America teachers, of course the data would lend support towards exactly what EducationNext, the Thomas Fordham Institute and the Hoover Foundation represent. Which is the privatization of public schools and the destruction of teachers unions. As for the 3,300 “adult members of the public”, how many are parents of traditional school district children? How many are charter school parents? What is the statistical age representation of this survey? Failure to release that kind of information does not lend credibility to your arguments.
This is the biggest problem in education these days, organizations like yours coming up with these reports and surveys and using the flawed data to mold legislators into your puppets to pass laws off your agendas. The lines between public policy and lobbyists have become so convoluted that the bias towards corporate money in education has become the norm. Enough already. Why does anyone give Petrilli the time of day anymore?