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Interpersonal Skills, Wraparound Services, and Career Development are What Americans Want to See in Public Schools

PDK Poll Results Encourage Public Schools to Build More

 Washington, D.C., Aug. 28, 2017 - The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL)  is happy to share key results on behalf of our national partner, Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) Poll of Public's Attitudes Towards Public Schools. The 49th report survey results show that Americans believe local public schools should be providing wraparound services, including mental health programs and after-school programs. The report similarly emphasizes the public's interest in educators helping students develop their interpersonal skills and limiting standardized testing. The polled public also places a strong importance on developing career skills, licensing, and certificate programs. 

 For over half a century IEL has worked to fulfill its mission to equip leaders to better prepare children and youth for college, careers, and citizenship. This year's results align with our pillars that emphasize connecting the community with public education to support learning and development of young people, and building more effective pathways into the workforce to help all young people transition to adulthood.

 Here are a few additional poll findings from the PDK report that speak to IEL's mission:

  • 70 percent of parents would like their child to attend a racially diverse school.
  • 39 percent of participants said it was "extremely important" to develop team work and persistence skills.
  • 87 percent of participants support the provision of mental health services and 92 percent back the provision of after-school programs.
  • Three-quarters of the respondents say schools are justified in asking for more public money to provide wraparound services.
  • 82 percent of respondents support job or career skills classes.

"The survey results confirm that Americans know what our public schools need to focus on, if they aren't already. Schools that ensure racially diverse learning environments, offer health and wraparound support services, open up their facilities after hours for school academic and non-academic after-school opportunities, and create access to learning experiences that develop strong team and job and career readiness skills are the type of schools we want to see in every community across the nation,"
said Dr. Johan E. Uvin, President of the Institute for Educational Leadership. "These results appear consistent with an emerging evidence base in education research," added Uvin.

 PDK has surveyed the American public every year since 1969 to assess public opinion about public schools. The 2017 survey was conducted by Langer Research Associates of New York City. It is based on a random, representative 50-state sample of 1,588 adults interviewed by cell or landline telephone - in English or Spanish - this May. The margin of sampling error for the phone survey is ±3.5 percentage points for the full sample, including the design effect. Error margins are larger for subgroups such as parents of school-age children.  Additional PDK poll data can be found at

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 About PDK International
Established in 1906, PDK International supports teachers and school leaders by strengthening their interest in the profession through the entire arc of their career. We honor educators as professionals who learn daily from their work and want to share their knowledge with others to transform the lives of their students and their own specialized work. As a social sector organization, we elevate the discourse around teaching and learning with the goal of transforming the student experience to ensure that every child has access to a high-quality education. 


About the Institute for Educational Leadership
For over half-century, the Institute for Educational Leadership has championed the need for leaders at all levels to shake off their institutional constraints and work across boundaries to address the needs of young people and their families. Bound by no constituency, IEL serves as a catalyst that helps policymakers, administrators, and practitioners at all levels to bridge bureaucratic silos and undo gridlock to improve outcomes for all young people and their families. The work of IEL focuses on three pillars required for young people and their communities to succeed: 1) involving the broader community with public education to support the learning and development of young people; 2) building more effective pathways into the workforce for all young people and supporting the transition to adulthood; and 3) preparing generations of leaders with the know-how to drive collaborative efforts at all levels.

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