Kit Harris, ASCD Research

ED Pulse Poll Results: What Are the Benefits of Community Schools?

ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. Recently the ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll sought out the opinion of its readers on the idea of community schools.

Over the past year, there has been an increase in attention paid to the idea of community schools, from the media showing the results being produced at community schools to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan declaring the community school strategy as one of the preferred models of education reform. More and more school systems across the country are touting the positive impact community school partnerships have on student achievement and communities.

A quarter of these readers were not aware of the concept of community schools (25 percent). Of the remainder, the readers who responded to the poll were overwhelmingly in favor of community schools (67 percent positive to 8 percent don't see the benefits.) Specifically, the readers felt the most important benefit of community schools was to create increased family stability/greater family involvement with schools (39 percent).

Secondly, respondents felt that community schools can create significant and widespread gains in academic achievement (12 percent). Next, they felt that community schools create essential areas of nonacademic development (7 percent) and create increased security and pride in neighborhoods (6 percent). Few felt that the most important benefit was that community schools can increase teacher satisfaction/build a more positive school (3 percent).

This survey question was included in ASCD SmartBrief, a free daily e-mail news service that provides summaries and links to major education stories and issues, which has more than 200,000 subscribers. Using ED Pulse, the weekly online poll, data was collected from 347 readers, starting on October 3, 2013. Online surveys do not provide a random sample, as participants are self-selected, meaning that a margin of sampling error cannot be calculated or quoted. In addition, the population and sample are limited to those with access to computers and an online network. However, online surveys have been shown to produce results that have proven to be reliable predictors of outcomes, including election results. If you have a question on education that you would like to see addressed in a future ED Pulse poll, feel free to submit it in the comment section below, along with any other comments.

Kit Harris is the marketing research lead at ASCD. The quantitative and qualitative research work done is in support of strategic initiatives in marketing, membership, product/program/service development, and conferences/meetings. Harris started her career in Chicago at a marketing research firm, then moved to D.C. to serve as the research director at advertising agency Earle Palmer Brown & Associates. Prior to coming to ASCD, she ran her own research firm.

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