There’s a section in the new Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll out this week that hasn’t gotten much attention: what parents think about schools and student health. (You can read my overview of the full poll, which focuses heavily on questions about teacher quality and preparation, here.)
Interestingly, the percentage of parents who said they “strongly agreed” their child’s school “does things to help him or her be healthier” has declined since 2012, to 20 percent from 33 percent, according to the new poll.
While keeping in mind that correlation is not causation, the steepness of that dip took me by surprise. The role of schools in keeping kids healthy has been in an intense spotlight for the past four years, both with the push to improve federal school nutrition requirements and the intensity of first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign.
While the quality of classroom instruction may be the single biggest predictor a student’s success, that doesn’t mean their overall learning environment isn’t a significant contributing factor. U.S. schools are continually bombarded with demands for improvement and required to implement new initiatives, programs, and educational approaches aimed at boosting achievement.