The Public’s Attitudes Towards Public Schools

Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) has just completed its 49th survey of the public’s attitudes toward public schools. The survey results show that Americans believe local public schools should be providing wraparound services, including mental health programs and after-school programs. The report similarly emphasizes the public’s interest in educators helping students develop their interpersonal skills and limiting standardized testing. The polled public also places a strong importance on developing career skills, licensing, and certificate programs.

Below are additional highlights from the findings:

— 70 percent of parents would like their child to attend a racially diverse school.

— 39 percent of participants said it was “extremely important” to develop team work and persistence skills.

— 87 percent of participants support the provision of mental health services and 92 percent back the provision of after-school programs.

— Three-quarters of the respondents say schools are justified in asking for more public money to provide wraparound services.

— 82 percent of respondents support job or career skills classes.

PDK has surveyed the American public every year since 1969 to assess public opinion about public schools. The 2017 survey was conducted by Langer Research Associates of New York City. It is based on a random, representative 50-state sample of 1,588 adults interviewed by cell or landline telephone – in English or Spanish – this May. The margin of sampling error for the phone survey is ±3.5 percentage points for the full sample, including the design effect. Error margins are larger for subgroups such as parents of school-age children.

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