Jane R. Gordon
U.S. Postal Governor
PA Assoc. of Non
King of Prussia
Chamber of Commerce
Sun Company, Inc.
Albert E. Sindlinger
Sindlinger & Company
Focus Group Moderator
Charles L. Kennedy
Penn State University
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Lowman S. Henry /
Educators Support State Education Standards
PA -- A recent survey of professional educators from
throughout the Commonwealth has found strong support for
the adoption of educational standards for Pennsylvania's
elementary and secondary public schools.
"Education standards are
important because they describe what we as a society
expect of our youth," explained Dr. Charles E.
Greenawalt, II, a Professor of Political Science at
Millersville University who authored the survey for the
Lincoln Institute. "They are also important because
if standards are set, they will be met."
"Academic standards for
elementary and secondary schooling can revitalize
education in the same way that standards have galvanized
higher education, businesses, medicine, law, sports,
entertainment, and other vocational and professional
sectors. What we set our sights on we attain,"
The survey showed that all
segments of the state's educational community support
state academic standards. In response to the question of
whether the state should develop and implement a set of
academic standards, 78% of the respondents replied in the
This belief in the establishment
and utilization of standards became even stronger when
respondents were asked about their implementation in
local school districts. A large majority of 83% percent
of the respondents thought that their local school
district should possess and use academic standards.
Second, even though the survey
revealed strong support for academic standards within the
state's educational community, all segments of this
community -- teachers, principals, curriculum
coordinators, superintendents, and school board members
-- admitted that they were not "very
knowledgeable" about academic standards. Less than
one-third, or only 30%, of the state's education
establishment considered themselves to be very
knowledgeable on this topic.
This lack of a strong knowledge
base about academic standards could be seen in the
respondents' answers to the query of whether they
understood the difference between "standards"
and "outcomes based education (OBE)."
Essentially, a quarter, or 24%, of the Commonwealth's
education establishment admitted they did not understand
the difference between these two approaches to education.
In fact, the creation of voluntary
statewide academic standards by the Ridge Administration
is probably welcomed by the Commonwealth's education
establishment based on a comparison of the responses to
two questions. While 78% of the respondents supported the
development and implementation of academic standards,
only 53% endorsed the concept of outcomes based education
(OBE). Therefore, 25% of the respondents, a quarter of
the survey sample, favor the use of "standards"
In order to successfully employ
standards, assessment and accountability mechanisms are
also necessary. This is a realization that is held by the
Institute's survey sample. Sixty-six percent of the
respondents supported not just assessment and
accountability measures, but the institution of a
statewide examination that students would be required to
pass before they were awarded their diplomas and allowed
to graduate from high school. Teachers held this belief
even more strongly than the other segments of the state's
educational community. Seventy-eight percent of the
teachers desired just such a statewide test.