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What Americans have said

What parents said: How do you assess school quality?

In addition to the traditional PDK poll of Americans, PDK convened online focus groups with public school parents and public school teachers, thanks to funding support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. These comments are drawn from those two groups.

I consider the look of the school. If it doesn't look inviting, how will children feel comfortable learning there? How do the teachers and staff treat the children and parents? Do they make them feel welcomed? Do they know them by name? Are they engaging our children in a positive way?

Albert, 49, Asian father of two in a California suburb

I closely monitor my children's report cards, however I feel as though they don't give a clear-cut picture, which is why I always request a conference. Meeting a teacher in person is the best way to find out about your child's education.

Brietta, 31, suburban Delaware mother of three

I listen to other parents, and, more importantly, I listen to my kids and what they're excited about as well as their complaints, if any. You can walk around the school and tell a lot by what you see and hear. The teachers and school culture tell a lot. I look at the report cards every semester, and they’re not very telling.

Autumn, 39, White mother of three in a Michigan suburb

I would like more independent groups to issue report cards on the schools. I would certainly look at them.

Deanna, 42, Hispanic mother of two in rural Colorado

I have seen those report cards (state report cards), but I don't pay much attention to them. I do not like or support standardized testing, and I don't believe test scores truly reflect how well a school is doing.

Robin, 49, White mother of one in urban Pennsylvania

It would be nice to see where my son's school compares to other schools. But comparing schools is like comparing apples to oranges. Every school has its own unique strengths and weaknesses.

Albert, 49, Asian father of two in a California suburb

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