Survey: Over half of U.S. adults disapprove of direction of K-12 education

K-12 Schools
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A recent survey by Pew Research has shed light on widespread apprehensions among Americans regarding the state of public K-12 education. According to the findings, over half of U.S. adults, accounting for 51%, believe that the education system is heading down the wrong path. In contrast, only 16% express confidence in its current direction.

Of those expressing dissatisfaction with the state of education, a significant majority, comprising 54%, point to teachers bringing their personal politics and social views into the classroom as a primary concern. This sentiment is coupled with worries about students' proficiency in essential subjects such as math, reading, science, and civics, with 69% of respondents expressing concerns in this regard.

Erika Sanzi, outreach director for Parents Defending Education, emphasizes the importance of focusing on fundamental academic skills such as reading, writing, and math. Sanzi suggests that the infiltration of politics and ideology into classrooms, along with the emphasis on "social-emotional learning," has detracted from these core subjects.

The survey also reveals notable disparities along political lines regarding perceptions of education. While 65% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents believe education is headed in the wrong direction, a substantial 40% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents share this sentiment. Interestingly, only 10% of Republicans and 23% of Democrats believe education is on the right track.

Additionally, ideological differences within the Republican party are apparent, with conservative Republicans expressing greater dissatisfaction with the education system compared to their moderate and liberal counterparts.

Regarding the factors contributing to concerns about education, 52% of respondents cite a lack of funding and resources. However, there is a significant discrepancy between Democrats and Republicans on this issue, with 78% of Democrats versus 33% of Republicans attributing the problem to inadequate funding.

Democrats are also more likely to believe that parents exert too much influence on school curricula, with 46% holding this view compared to 13% of Republicans. Conversely, Republicans are more inclined to view a teacher's personal politics in the classroom as a significant issue.