Gallup: Americans less happy with quality of K-12 Education
"Americans' satisfaction with schools was at a near-record high of 51% in 2019 before dropping slightly each year since."
According to a recent Gallup survey, Americans are “less content” with the quality of K-12 education.
The results per Gallup show that “42% who say they are satisfied today is the lowest measured in the past two decades by one percentage point and the second-lowest reading in Gallup's 23-year trend.”
Survey respondents were asked to rank their views on a four-point scale, from completely dissatisfied to completely satisfied.
“Americans' satisfaction with schools was at a near-record high of 51% in 2019 before dropping slightly each year since,” according to Gallup.
The new survey results show that 55%, or nearly one in four Americans, are “completely dissatisfied” with U.S. K-12 education. The breakdown includes 32% somewhat dissatisfied and 23% completely dissatisfied. Only 9% responded they were completely satisfied.
When it came to satisfaction with education for one’s own child as seen in the graphic above, the script flipped and 80% reported being completely satisfied or somewhat satisfied. But this result has some issues - namely the shift in parents moving their child to a charter school, private school or even being homeschooled since the pandemic.
Another issue is Gallup’s "samples," which were mainly adults who have no children in K-12, which could mean dissatisfaction levels may be even higher.
The survey results published by Gallup are based on telephone interviews conducted this year between the dates of Aug. 1-23. Those surveyed were a random sample of 1,006 adults over the age of 18 in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Within the overall 1,006 sample size, Gallup then apparently plucked out the K-12 parents and drilled down with other questions.
According to the survey document, “For results based on the sample of –206—parents with children in Kindergarten through Grade 12, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±8 percentage points.”
One question Gallup asked was if the person had any children who will be attending school, either in kindergarten through grade 12 this year, either in person or remotely. 26 said yes 73 said no.
Had the sample been majority K-12 parents to start with, these results would likely look very different.
Side note on the methodology - Gallup said their margin of sampling error is “±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.” Additionally, samples were “weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, non-response, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames” and to match national demographics in the areas of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status.
Interestingly, both Republicans and Democrats alike are dissatisfied with curriculum and educational approaches, though likely for different reasons.
Gallup’s Lydia Saad felt the need to qualify the political slice of the results, writing, “There is no ambiguity about the source of the recent decline in public satisfaction with education, nationally. It entirely reflects reduced satisfaction among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents since President Donald Trump left office, while Democrats' satisfaction has remained fairly stable.”
Some other interesting points from the survey highlight that the majority of those surveyed (65%) recognize schools are using unrigorous or outdated curricula/materials/teaching methods. Of that 65%, a subset of 11% said schools are not focusing on the basics (reading, writing, math) enough.
Politicalization in the classroom, including LGBT/sexual topics and Critical Race Theory, also garnered about 17% of concern.
More To The Story
The Gallup survey’s low level of actual K-12 parents makes the results flawed in terms of truly determining parental satisfaction or dissatisfaction. However, the U.S.-level K-12 dissatisfaction results support the idea that more citizens may take their dissatisfaction with education with them into the voting booth.
That premise is supported by a Harris Poll Survey of an even larger sample of 5,002 - and that sample was all parents or guardians who had kids enrolled in grades Pre-K through 12th grade at the end of the 2021-22 school year.
That poll was analyzed by the National Association of Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) and the conclusion was clear: education voters are the new swing voters.
According to NAPCS’ report, “More than four in five parents (83%) agree that education has become a more important political issue to them than it was in the past.”
Additionally, the vast majority (82%) are “willing to vote outside their party on the issue of education.”
Read more about the NAPCS report in my past article.
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