Americans’ confidence in public schools is down five percentage points from last year, with 29% expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in them. That establishes a new low in public school confidence from the 33% measured in Gallup’s 2007 and 2008 Confidence in Institutions polls. The high was 58% the first time Gallup included public schools, in 1973.
This is part of a broader pattern of declining satisfaction with many of our nation’s institutions, but schools, banks, television news, and organized religion have taken a particularly hard hit with record-low ratings.
I tend to write about the negative aspects of our educational system in my blog, and this survey confirms that I’m not alone in my perspective. We see increasing amounts of money spent on education with increasingly disappointing results. While these poor results partly reflect our society as a whole, I remain convinced that public schools could make changes that would result in improved achievement levels. Cost of College recently added a new category, lower education bubble, that includes posts about problems I see with K-12 education.
We still value education, but we have more options beyond traditional public schools
Parents know they have an increasing number of quality education options for their children that extend beyond the hallways of public schools. The lack of confidence in public schools does not mean we have lost faith in the importance of education to improve outcomes or economic mobility.
Speaking of options
Ten years ago this month the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Cleveland’s school choice program in what some consider the most important education decision since Brown v. Board of Education.