48 percent of Americans happy with public education
Nearly half of American adults are pleased with the operation of the K-12 public school system in the nation. A recently released Gallup poll finds that 48 percent of Americans say they are “somewhat” or “completely” satisfied with the public K-12 system in the U.S. The poll has been conducted since 1999 and that highest satisfaction rating in this category was 53 percent in 2004.
Respondents with children who are actually in the public school system currently showed higher levels of satisfaction (57 percent) with the system than adults as a collective group. Parents who answered how satisfied they were with just their oldest child’s education were at almost 75 percent.
The fact that many parents in the poll responded positively to public schools and members of the general public responded negatively was labeled an “optimism gap” by the Gallup poll staff.
The poll included 1,032 American adults from all 50 states, and the District of Columbia.
The results of this poll tell me two things: One, American confidence in the public school system has a ways to go to reassure the general population that it is doing its job; and two, that those who actually interact with the public schools are less influenced by things like news stories when it comes to shaping their personal opinions.
As a former public school educator, and someone who watches public school policy closely, I believe the K-12 system is definitely on its way up. By raising accountability standards, and offering more social services, and focusing more intently on high school graduation and college prep, our schools are better preparing students academically and for productive lives.