Partisan Divide Emerges on Trusting Public Education

A new Gallup poll shows confidence in public education is increasingly impacted by political divisions.

While the overall numbers show Americans’ faith in public education remains low, and it’s only getting worse.

The poll shows only 28 percent of those surveyed say they have a great deal or a lot of confidence in public schools. Last year that percentage stood at 32 percent. In 2020, the number was 41 percent.

Only 14 percent of Republicans say they have a great deal or a lot of confidence in public schools. In 2021, it was 20 percent. In 2020, it stood at 34 percent.

Independents have more confidence in public education, with 29 percent saying they have a great deal or a lot of confidence in public schools. More than two-fifths of Democrats–43 percent–say they have a great deal or a lot of confidence in public schools, down from 48 percent in 2020.

Between 1986 to 2006, Gallup found around 40 percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of the education system. Before then, around 50 percent trusted it.

Gallup insisted public education has become more politicized, with Republicans more opposed than Democrats to distance learning and student face mask requirements during the pandemic. Gallup also pointed to partisan divisions over school curricula revolving around racism, gender theory and sexual orientation.

The poll of 1,015 Americans was taken from June 1 through June 20 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

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