Polls Reveal Parents’ Intense Frustration With Public Schools

With student performance trending downward and evidence of perceived leftist indoctrination on the rise, public education in the post-pandemic era is on the receiving end of some serious scrutiny.

Lawmakers across the country are ramping up their advocacy for more school choice and parents are increasingly choosing homeschooling as an option for their children.

As such, it stands to reason that a significant percentage of Americans distrust those in charge of the public school system. Recent polls put that sentiment in stark perspective.

Less than a year ago, Gallup released the results of a poll that found only 28% of respondents had either a great deal or a lot of confidence in American public schools. That number temporarily increased during the early days of the pandemic, but by 2022 it was lower than levels recorded in 2019.

Across political lines, it was clear from that survey that Democrats were more likely to express confidence in the institution than either independents or Republicans.

More recently, a Democratic Party-aligned group conducted a survey that found — despite the clear partisan bias in its questioning — that a majority of respondents support various forms of school choice.

About half of independents said they did not have confidence in the approach to public education expressed by either major party, though an overwhelming majority of Republicans and Democrats said they trusted their respective party’s leadership.

Since COVID-19 school shutdowns forced parents to take a more active role in their children’s education, many have apparently determined that homeschooling is a realistic and advantageous option.

Nationwide, roughly 7% of parents homeschool at least one of their children — and that percentage is significantly higher in certain areas.

Educator Diane Lewis, who founded a tutoring service during the pandemic, opined that one key reason for the trend is that homeschooling offers an escape from underperforming public schools without the prohibitive cost of a private education.

“Many great private schools offer specialized learning programs, but most parents can’t afford the tuition,” she said. “Homeschool offers a simple, affordable alternative for parents who want customized learning.”

In an effort to bridge the financial gap, the burgeoning school choice movement seeks to provide vouchers and other incentives that allow parents to choose the educational environment in which their children would be best served.

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