Governing highlights a Phi Delta Kappa International/Gallup poll which says 35% of Americans think funding is the biggest problem for the nation's public schools, but 60% say the federal government should balance the budget rather than improve education.
“I think what you’re seeing is that there is a real concern and people are worried about federal deficit reduction and the debt,” said Andrew Rotherham, co-founder and partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a non-profit organization that advocates for education reform, during a panel discussion at the Gallup offices. “It’s more of a gut check than anything else.”
Those numbers don’t necessarily mean Americans don’t believe public education is important. Nearly two-thirds strongly disagreed when presented with the idea that a high school dropout is ready for the world of work. That number dropped to 18 percent when asking about high school graduates. More than 60 percent agreed with requiring students to attend school until age 18—which coincides with a proposal that President Obama presented in his State of the Union address, asking states to mandate that students graduate.