NSBA Statement on the 2018 PDK Poll Findings

August 28, 2018

Statement by Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director & CEO

National School Boards Association

“The PDK Poll showed again that Americans strongly support public schools. School board members have consistently adapted to meet the demands of a very dynamic world and their continued foresight, thoughtful planning, and actions have created opportunities for students to receive a high-quality education and fulfill his or her potential. The poll’s finding that respondents believe students receive a better education than ever, in areas such as college prep, encouraging critical thinking, and providing a good education for all, is grounded in local governance and a commitment to educational equity.

“With the tragic incidents in the first half of 2018, it is understandable that respondents expressed concern about school safety. School board members know and care about their students and school communities, and they have always considered student safety a paramount responsibility. Over decades, much work has been done to protect students, teachers, volunteers, and administrators. From enacting and implementing new policies to authorizing funding for additional technology measures, local education leaders have added security protocols and measures to address increased awareness of risks.

“The National School Boards Association (NSBA) believes that prevention, preparedness, mitigation, and emergency response and recovery plans are critical to protecting the safety and health of students. These plans should be developed and maintained in coordination with appropriate local, state, and federal agencies including local public health, police, fire departments, transit authorities, first responders, and other agencies, and should address the range of issues related to the potential for instances of mass violence.

“NSBA supports greater and sustained federal resources to expand access to mental health services and support comprehensive ‘wraparound’ services to schools that include a range of community resources to address safety and intervention. These services include school resource officers, school counseling, emergency preparedness and response training, interagency coordination, and comprehensive resource guides on available federal assistance.

“Public schools always have gladly accepted the immense responsibility given to them to help all students, regardless of their background, to achieve their full potential. Today, our schools are educating the most diverse student population in history, providing equitable access, and ensuring that all children are educated at levels no previous generation attempted to achieve. The public recognized that public schools continue to make progress in helping students prepare for college, careers, and life.”

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