In its advance review of the newly released 47th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is pleased to find strong public support for local governance, resistance to vouchers, and high marks for local schools.
This year’s PDK/Gallup Poll is titled “Testing Doesn’t Measure Up for Americans.” In addition to garnering public opinion on standardized testing, the poll explores an array of education “hot topics,” including Common Core, school choice, school performance, school funding, vaccinations, and more. New to this year’s poll, data are reported by specific population sectors, including public school parents, political party affiliation and race (white, black and Hispanic).
“For the 10th consecutive year, Americans named lack of financial support as the biggest problem facing their local schools,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director, National School Boards Association. “ESEA reauthorization offers an opportunity to ensure that every public school district is adequately funded and able to support high-quality teaching and learning.”
In alignment with NSBA’s policy position, a majority of Americans do not want to use public money to pay for private school attendance. While the poll data show that Americans “accept choice and charters as part of the education landscape,” the public does not support vouchers. NSBA supports public charter schools that respond to the same accountability measures required of public schools, but is strongly opposed to vouchers, tuition tax credits, and other forms of education that siphon public tax dollars toward for-profit interests.
On choice, a majority of Americans surveyed — 64 percent — say parents should be able to choose any public school in their community for their child to attend.
Also in keeping with prior poll results, a majority of Americans, 51 percent, “love their local schools,” with schools closest to home receiving an “A” or “B” for performance. In a pre-release briefing, Joshua P. Starr, chief executive officer, PDK International, said “Clearly there’s a disconnect between the way schools are portrayed in the media and the high marks Americans give local schools.” In a troubling disconnect, Americans accord far lower rankings to schools nationwide.
The full report may be viewed online at www.pdkpoll.org.