Republican confidence in public schools plummets to all-time low
Just 28% of Americans say they have a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in public schools, the second lowest figure on record, a new Gallup poll revealed Thursday.
Why it matters: The poll illustrates a growing national divide over public education, which emerged as a political battleground during the pandemic, with debates over masking, openings and teachings about race dividing parents and triggering intense debates and school board meetings.
Driving the news: The percentage of Republicans who said they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in public schools dropped from 34% in 2020 to 20% in 2021 and 14% in 2022, per the poll.
- There's a stark partisan divide in views of public schools, with 43% of Democrats saying they have confidence in the public school system compared t0 14% of Republicans.
- The 29-point gap between Republicans and Democrats is up from a 25-point difference last year.
By the numbers: The 28% of Americans who remain confident in public education is slightly above the all-time low of 26% in 2014, Gallup notes.
- Trust in public schools increased in 2020 during the early stages of the pandemic, with 41% of Americans having confidence in the system. However, confidence has since dropped to its pre-pandemic level.
Between the lines: "While Republicans express low confidence in U.S. public schools, education is not on their minds when asked to name the most important problem facing the country today — only 1% of Republicans in June named education in answer to this open-ended question," Gallup notes.
Go deeper... The next political battleground: school boards