A public opinion poll recently released by the Phi Delta Kappa International (PDKI) and Gallup Poll organizations shows strong support for America's public schools. When asked to rate their local public schools on a scale of "A" to "F," 49 percent of American adults assigned an "A" or "B" grade. Sixty-four percent of public high school parents, who arguably are more aware of the state of their teenagers' education, marked an "A" or "B" on their school's report card.
The 38th annual edition of the poll shows public perception of local schools is as positive now has it has been in any previous PDKI/Gallup study.
The survey found that 24 percent believe inadequate funding is the greatest obstacle to improving public education. A solid majority, 60 percent, voiced opposition to voucher programs that allow children to attend religious or other private schools on the taxpayer's dime.
None of this is good news for the Bush administration. People aren't buying the histrionic pitch that public schools are failing, and they're not about to siphon tax dollars from public education just to funnel them into religious and other private schools.
Nonetheless, the White House is trudging along in its support for a national voucher program. At the behest of the administration, congressional Republicans and, no doubt, the Religious Right, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings proposed a $100 million national voucher scheme in late July.