Who are today’s education activists?
Do Americans consider higher education a worthwhile investment? Do they trust the business leaders who are increasingly shaping education policy?
Watch out, Pew, Gallup and Quinnipiac — “The Public Matters: How Americans View Education, Health & Psychology,” a TC-based opinion survey, is on the case.
“Despite the important role public opinion plays in setting public policy, only limited efforts have been made to document public opinions about education, psychology and health,” write the project’s directors, Aaron Pallas, Arthur I. Gates Professor of Sociology & Education, and Oren Pizmony-Levy, Assistant Professor of International & Comparative Education.
The public is clearly signaling to policy makers that it’s time to try new types of re-forms that invest not only in improving instruction and curriculum, but also invest in the whole child and families”
Backed by the TC Provost’s Investment Fund, The Public Matters taps the College’s diverse faculty expertise. A survey on how Americans view community schools was co-authored by TC Associate Vice President Nancy Streim, who led creation of the Teachers College Community School in West Harlem. The survey on higher education was co-authored by Noah D. Drezner, Associate Professor of Higher Education and founding editor of the journal Philanthropy & Education
The Public Matters “takes the pulse of ordinary Americans,” spotlighting disconnects with past assessments and current policies. Like other polls, it finds Americans critical of the country’s colleges and universities, but also reports consensus that higher education benefits society at large through scientific advances and encouragement of national prosperity and civic participation. And as schools eliminate programs in order to focus on improving math and literacy, The Public Matters finds a strong appetite for the health and social services community schools provide.
“The public is clearly signaling to policy makers that it’s time to try new types of re-forms that invest not only in improving instruction and curriculum, but also invest in the whole child and families,” Pizmony-Levy said of those findings.