This year’s PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools shows that the public’s opinion concerning education and funding is shifting. When asked in 1996, whether it was more important to balance the federal budget or improve the quality of education, nearly two thirds of respondents said “improve education.” However, this year 60 percent said that it’s more important to balance the federal budget. Given the state of the economy in 1996 versus today, this shift could be in response to the fiscal crises occurring at all governing levels in recent years.
That being said, the poll also revealed that the public feels that lack of funding is the biggest challenge facing public schools in their communities, with 35 percent of those surveyed citing it as the top challenge, compared with 23 percent a decade ago. Parents, at 43 percent, felt even more strongly that lack of funding is the number one challenge facing public schools.
Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager