Gallup: U.S. education system hits 2nd lowest approval all-time


Republicans are behind the growing dissatisfaction with the nation’s education system, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll, released last week, found that just 42% of respondents are satisfied with the quality of the K-12 education in the U.S.

That’s the lowest overall number in two decades and continues a two-year slide in satisfaction that went from 50% in 2020 to 46% in 2021.

It’s also the second lowest reading in the poll’s 23-year history when surveying on this topic, ahead only of the 36% satisfaction rating in the 2000 poll.

Satisfaction among Republicans and Republican-leaning voters have declined precipitously since 2020.

Back then, 49% of conservative respondents approved of the nation’s education system, which wasn’t much different from the 52% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning voters who said the same.

By 2021, Republicans’ satisfaction had dropped to 35%, and has fallen to 30% this year. In contrast, Democrats’ satisfaction increased to 57% in 2021 before dipping back down to 51% this year.

“Gallup’s trends suggest that Americans’ satisfaction with the quality of education provided to the nation’s K-12 students has declined, but only slightly within the narrow range recorded since 2001,” the poll synopsis reads. “And the decline has occurred exclusively among Republicans and Republican-leaning adults.”

Curiously, when asked how they felt about the quality of education their oldest child has received, most respondents were somewhat (48%) or completely satisfied (32%).

Along those same lines, Republican parents largely approved (74%) of their own child’s education, though they weren’t as enthusiastic as Democrats (85%).

As for why respondents weren’t pleased with the education system, a majority of people (56%) agreed with the broad answer of “curriculum/educational approach.”

When asked to select more specific reasons in that category, most respondents felt the curriculum was poor/outdated (15%), the quality of education is poor/outranked by other countries (12%) and the lack of teaching basics, such as reading, writing and arithmetic (11%).

After curriculum in general, the next two commonest themes for dissatisfaction were “lack of resources” (23%) and “political agenda concerns” (17%).

“Curriculum/education approach” received bipartisan support as the biggest source of dissatisfaction among Republicans (58%) and Democrats (52%).

However, more Democrats answered that “lack of resources” (38%) factored into their responses than Republicans (13%).

Meanwhile, Republicans were far more likely to say that “political agenda concerns” (28%) were why they were dissatisfied than Democrats (5%).

Respondents could give more than one reason for their dissatisfaction.

Gallup conducts the poll annually each August. This year’s poll was taken Aug. 1-23 and has an error margin of four percentage points.


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