Blog: The Educated Reporter

New Polls Show Americans Frustrated With State of Education

New Polls Show Americans Frustrated With State of Education

At 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, EWA’s Emily Richmond talks with Phi Delta Kappa’s Bill Bushaw about a new Gallup/PDK poll on attitudes toward public education. Watch it here!

The PDK/Gallup poll generated some media buzz, and when viewed alongside two other education polls released this week, reveals a populace that has an ambivalent view on the state of U.S. schools. 

Catch up with news coverage of the polls’ results and responses from stakeholders below:

Politico: “Americans want more funding for local schools, but they aren’t willing to blame tight budgets for all school woes; they identify a long list of problems, from poor discipline to overcrowding to low expectations for student achievement.

Christian Science Monitor: “The PDK/Gallup poll, analysts say, shows that Americans on the whole are becoming skeptical about the connection between teachers and failing schools, suggesting instead that schools need more resources to succeed. Seventy percent of respondents – the highest percentage ever recorded in the 45-year-old poll – oppose using taxpayer money to fund ‘vouchers’ for private schools.”

San Jose Mercury News: “Here’s a comparison of some of the two polls’ questions and answers related to Common Core State Standards, the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations and perceptions of standardized testing.”

Education Week: “The findings on standardized testing—that fewer than one in four of those responding believe that more student testing has led to better public schools—stand in sharp contrast to the results in another national poll published this week by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago.”

Washington Post: “Support for charter schools has grown during the past decade, said Bill Bushaw, executive director of PDK International. Nearly 70 percent of Americans favor charter schools, up from less than 40 percent 11 years ago. Charters, funded by taxpayers but run independently of traditional school systems, have grown in number as they have drawn support from President Obama and two of his predecessors.”

Huffington Post: “When asked about the dissimilar results, Bushaw noted that the polls took the pulse of different populations: the general public vs. parents with schoolchildren. He also pointed out that the questions in the two surveys were phrased differently.”

“‘Ours asked about, did it help, hurt or make no difference,’ Bushaw said. ‘Theirs asked was there too much, too little or just the right amount.’”

Educated Reporter: “I asked Bill Bushaw, executive director of PDK, what surprised him about this year’s poll findings, and he told me it was the public support for homeschooling, and for allowing homeschooled students to participate in sports and activities at their local campuses.”


Eduwonk: “My take? Clearly there is a backlash against some of today’s reform policies. Movement on some questions in the PDK survey across the last few years makes that clear. But it’s not nearly as large a backlash as some would like too see or claim.  The Ed Next poll remains very solid on probing on some of this and AP did a nice job in the same vein via a lot of questions – resources matter! And, looking across all the questions it’s pretty clear there is broad support for general reform ideas at a high-level, for instance removing low-performing teachers (most teachers support this, too) and standards and accountability.”

Education Next: “For the most part, AP asked quite a different set of questions from those posed by EdNext, so the two polls must be seen mainly as complements.  And EdNext has a representative sample of all adults, while AP just interviewed parents of school-age children.  However, EdNext collected an extra large sample of parents, so direct comparisons between the two polls can be made for this group on some items.”