Confidence in Public Schools Plummets to Dangerous Lows

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

Here is yet another story we can file under “Water is Wet.” America’s faith in public education has dropped precipitously according to a new Gallup poll. People of all political persuasion are increasingly becoming less confident in public K-12 schools, and with the ongoing debate over the material being presented in the classroom, this result is not exactly shocking. The question is, what impact will this have on education in America in the years to come?

Gallup’s latest poll measuring Americans’ faith in the public school system showed some rather troubling, if not predictable, findings. It revealed that confidence in the country’s education system is at the second lowest point ever recorded since the polling organization began conducting the survey in 1975.

From Gallup:

Americans’ confidence in U.S. public schools remains low, with 28% saying they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the institution, similar to 32% last year. Both figures are down from 41% in 2020, reflecting a brief surge in the early months of the pandemic after registering 29% in 2019.

While all political party groups expressed more confidence than usual in public schools in 2020, Republicans’ confidence has since plunged, while independents’ has dipped and Democrats’ has remained near their pandemic high.

The report continued, noting how the survey’s findings broke down by political party:

The percentage of Republicans having a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in public schools fell from 34% in 2020 to 20% in 2021 and 14% today. Since 2020, independents’ confidence has declined nine percentage points to 29% and Democrats’ has remained fairly high — currently 43%, versus 48% in 2020.

Today’s 29-point gap between Republican and Democratic confidence in public schools contrasts with an average seven points since the start of Gallup’s Confidence in Institutions trend in 1973. Except for a 25-point gap last year, the previous high was 19 points in 2013, likely related to partisan disagreement over the Common Core educational standards at the time.

Confidence in public schools in 2022 is only two points higher than the survey’s all-time low of 26% in 2014. I’ll play Captain Obvious for a second: This is horrible news for the public education system. Even further, this trend is not going to turn around anytime soon given the fact that the reasons why it happened are not being addressed.

As it turns out, parents don’t react favorably when they find out school districts are infusing the curriculum with far leftist ideology on race, sexuality, and gender identity. Even more, they don’t really like it when educators and school staff encourage their children to transition to different genders without informing parents. This, along with the fact that the quality of education has also plummeted, is a clear indicator as to why parents are not too fond of their children’s schools.

The Biden administration recently tried to extend what appeared to be an olive branch to parents in the form of the National Parents and Families Engagement Council, which is ostensibly designed to show parents that the White House cares about their concerns. In reality, however, it is a coalition made up wholly of left-wing groups that promote pushing progressive ideology in the classroom. To put it simply, the whole thing is a massive fraud. Indeed, I recently discussed the matter with Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, a parental rights advocacy group that has filed a lawsuit against the administration over its formation of the fraudulent council.

It is not just the results of Gallup’s poll that demonstrate how parents feel about their children’s public schools. Parents are voting with their feet and pocketbooks. In Virginia, the number of families choosing to homeschool has risen by almost 40 percent since 2019. A similar trend is happening in Kansas, Illinois, and other states. Private and charter school enrollment has been on the rise over the past two years. On the other hand, public school attendance has dropped considerably, even after schools opened up after COVID-19 lockdowns.

Some might view these numbers with concern. But in reality, this is likely a positive development. When people realize they don’t need to rely on government for their children’s education, more of them will seek alternatives. This is likely why the Biden administration is trying to attack charter schools, and why progressives are speaking out against school choice and homeschooling. The exodus from public schools is likely hitting their bottom line.

Even more importantly, it is preventing them from turning out a generation of far-leftist activists. Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise. If more parents choose to homeschool or exercise other educational options, it will stymie progressives’ attempts to influence their children’s young minds and give them a much better education than the state has provided.


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