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According to a new Gallup poll, America’s satisfaction with K-12 public schools has fallen to record lows, down to 36 percent, the lowest in Gallup’s 24-year history of gauging this metric.
There are a few noteworthy trends: As pre usual, parents’ satisfaction with their own child’s school is much higher, measuring at 76 percent. Yet when asked about U.S. education in general, the approval rate falls to 41%, with Republicans far more sour than Democrats.
All in all, 35% of parents of K-12 students are “completely satisfied” with their child’s education, 41% are “somewhat satisfied,” 12% are “somewhat dissatisfied” and 9% “completely dissatisfied.” Meanwhile, 8% of Americans are completely satisfied with K-12 education nationally, 28% are somewhat satisfied, 38% somewhat dissatisfied and 25% completely dissatisfied. Megan Brenan of Gallup says,
“Parents’ more-positive views on education are reserved for their direct experience with their own children. They are only a bit more satisfied with education nationally (41%) than the public at large is (36%).”
Parents are also very satisfied with their children’s teachers, with almost 75% saying the teachers who interact directly with their children are “excellent” or “good.”
For both major parties, satisfaction with schools is what Gallup calls “record lows.” The 25% of Republicans who say they are at least somewhat satisfied with U.S. education is the lowest recorded for the group, five points below the previous low recorded last year and about half of what it was in 2019 and 2020. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, only 44% are at least somewhat satisfied with the nation’s education, which is five points lower than the average since 2000.
Some other highlights from the poll:
- The latest divergent readings among partisans are in stark contrast to 2000, the last time overall satisfaction among U.S. adults was at today’ level. At that time, there was little difference between partisans’ satisfaction levels.
- The intensity of partisans’ satisfaction also differs, with more than three times as many Republicans (38%) as Democrats (12%) in 2023 saying they are completely dissatisfied. For their part, a 43% plurality of Democrats say they are somewhat dissatisfied.
- Americans’ satisfaction with the quality of K-12 education in the U.S. has fallen to a record low point as a new school year begins. Both party groups are at or near record-low satisfaction levels, but Republicans are significantly less likely to be satisfied than Democrats are.