Poll: Americans Rate Private Schools Highest, Public Schools Lowest

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

A Gallup poll reveals 71 percent of Americans rate private schools highest in terms of providing excellent or good K-12 education, while only 44 percent say public schools do the same.

Survey participants were asked “to indicate – based on what you know or have read and heard – how good an education each provides children: excellent, good, only fair or poor.”

Of the random sample of 1,017 adults interviewed by telephone during the first week of August, 71 percent rated independent private schools as providing “excellent/good” quality, followed by 63 percent for parochial or church-related schools. Of the respondents, 55 percent rated charter schools and 46 percent rated homeschooling as excellent/good. Only 44 percent rated public schools as providing excellent or good education.

When political affiliation is a factor, 76 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Democrats rate independent private schools as excellent/good, while 71 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of Democrats say parochial schools perform at that level.

Among Republicans 62 percent rate charter schools as excellent/good, while 48 percent of Democrats say the same.

Homeschooling shows the widest gap between the political groups, with 55 percent of Republicans and only 38 percent of Democrats describing homeschool education as excellent/good.

Less than half of Democrats – 48 percent – rate public schools as excellent/good, while only 39 percent of Republicans say the same.

Gallup reports the current survey shows public schools with a 7-percentage point increase in Americans’ ratings since 2012 when 37 percent of respondents described public schools as providing excellent/good education. Additionally, Gallup says Republicans show a 9-percentage point increase in favorability toward public schools since the 2012 poll, when 30 percent of Republicans rated them highly.

Gallup writes:

Americans as a whole believe private and parochial schools do a better job of educating students than public schools do, something that might be remedied with the right federal or state public school education policies. Another remedy may be expanding charter schools so that parents of children in failing public schools who can’t afford private school have other options for their children.

The survey’s margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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