PDK Poll Items of Interest

We look forward to reading the results of the PDK poll every year. Make sure to click the link to read all of the data. It’s long and in-depth but valuable and intriguing.


Of particular interest, this question has interesting data every year since the survey began in 1969:

“School grades. The public schools continue to suffer from an image deficit. Among those who know them best, parents of current students, 70% give their oldest child’s school an A or B grade. Among the public more broadly, by contrast, only four in 10 give their local schools an A or B. In results that are typical across the years, far fewer give top grades to the public schools nationally, just 19%.”

Image issues and political messaging has caused an image problem for public schools that differs from what current parents experience. Basically, parents of children in the schools support their own schools very strongly. People who are in the community but don’t have kids think the schools aren’t as good as the parents with actual children attending.

It is also interesting to look at all of the data by education level and political identification. Check the link for the full report and lots of interesting charts and data.

Here are just a few of the other interesting results we’ve selected to highlight for you:

“78% of public school parents say they would support teachers in their community if they went on strike for more pay.”

“School security. Arming teachers trails other school security measures supported by parents. Parents lack strong confidence that schools can protect their children against a school shooting but favor armed police, mental health screenings, and metal detectors more than arming teachers to protect their children.”

“Spending and funding. The public supports spending more on students who need extra support (60%) rather than spending the same amount on every student (39%). But they divide evenly on where the funds should come from: Half favor raising taxes to accommodate the additional need; half say the schools should spend less on students who require fewer resources, with sharp partisan and ideological differences. In a separate question and for the 19th consecutive year, Americans have named the lack of funding as the biggest problem facing their local schools.”

“Opportunities and expectations. The public says a child’s education opportunities vary based on family income, racial or ethnic group, and urbanicity. Lower-income, rural, and black and Hispanic students are underserved compared with their counterparts, they say. Many Americans also say schools expect less from these students.”

“College affordability. The poll finds broad support for proposals to make college more affordable. Seventy-five percent of Americans are in favor of free tuition for community college — up sharply in just the past few years — while 68% support increasing federal funding to help students pay tuition at four-year colleges. Currently, only about half of K-12 parents say they’re at least somewhat likely to be able to pay for college — and among those making less than $50,000 a year, that falls to just one-third.”

“School hours. On a topic that’s been debated across the generations, high school parents are largely satisfied with their child’s current school schedule. But it could be better: More than half say current start and end times are off their ideal by at least 30 minutes — generally, too early.”

“Majorities across groups say teachers in their communities are paid too little.”

“Just 6% of all adults say teacher salaries are too high.”

“Teacher salaries also emerge as a prominent issue when we ask Americans to identify the biggest problems facing the public schools. Nine percent specifically mention teacher salaries, and 26% cite funding issues more broadly. Concern about funding is far higher among adults who say teachers are underpaid (32%) than among those who say they are not underpaid (14%).”

“Fifty-four percent of parents would not like one of their children to take up teaching in the public schools as a career, a majority response to this question for the first time since we began asking the question in 1969. Although 46% would support a teaching career, that’s down steeply from 70% in 2009 and from a high of 75% in the first PDK poll in 1969. “