New Education Poll: Parents Want Local Control

August 22, 2014

A new poll from Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup surveyed 1,000 American adults to gauge the public's attitude towards the public school system. According to the report accompanying the poll, the results indicated that most Americans are unsupportive of public education initiatives created by the federal government. For example:

  • Fifty-six percent of Americans say that local school boards should have the strongest influence in determining what is taught in public schools.
  • Sixty percent of Americans oppose Common Core Standards, concerned that the standards will not be able to accommodate the unique needs of local communities.
  • Seventy percent of Americans support public charter schools.

One of the biggest issues in the Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) poll was Common Core.

  • While 62 percent of respondents were unfamiliar with the Common Core Standards in PDK's 2013 poll, 81 percent of Americans in this year's poll reported having heard about it. Forty-seven percent said that they had heard at least a "fair amount" about the standards.
  • Sixty percent of Americans were opposed to the standards. Of the 33 percent who favored them, most indicated that they believed the standards would promote student learning regardless of where the student was enrolled in school.

The poll also delved into challenges facing America's public schools. When asked about those challenges, 36 percent of public school parents pointed to lack of financial support as being the main problem in their public school community.  Ten percent cited the difficulty in securing good teachers, while 9 percent said that concerns about education standards were the top issue facing their schools. Another 9 percent of public school parents cited drug use, fighting, gangs and a lack of discipline as the biggest issues facing their school communities.

Source: William J. Bushaw and Valerie J. Calderon, "46th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools," Phi Delta Kappa, September 2014.

 

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