National poll finds strong support for public schools

Candidates for elected office who are looking for a winning issue need look no further than their local public school.

A national poll released Monday shows that teachers, public schools, school boards and increased K-12 funding enjoy solid support.

And those likely voters don’t think President Donald Trump and Congress are doing a good job when it comes to public schools, according to the poll commissioned by the National School Boards Action Center, which advocates for public schools. And a strong majority of 73 percent agreed with the statement: “we should not take away public funds from our public schools to fund private, religious and home school education.”

To view the poll results, go to nsbac.org.

“Going into an election cycle, it’s imperative that we understand what is on voters’ minds with regards to the challenges facing public schools today,” said Frank Henderson, NSBAC President.

Henderson, who is a member of the Seaman USD 345 district and former KASB president, added, “Voters made it clear that public school funding, teacher shortages, school safety and the need to teach real-world skills are issues that they recognize as critical for elevating public schools, and they are willing to pay to achieve this important goal.”

The poll of 1,000 likely voters across the nation was conducted by a bipartisan team.

Republican pollster Bob Carpenter said, “Throughout the survey we see strong support for public schools including greater funding, even if it means tax increases. This support extends across gender, region and partisanship. And, voters are ready and willing to punish those elected officials who take the opposite approach and move to cut funding.”

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake added, “With the vast majority of school-age children in this nation attending a local public school, public education continues to be an important part of communities across this nation.”

The survey showed 80 percent had a favorable view of local teachers, 72 percent had a favorable view of their local schools and 58 percent were favorable to their local school board.

Congress and President Trump had 55 percent and 53 percent unfavorable ratings, respectively.

Sixty-four percent of voters said funding for schools should be increased and 80 percent of those supporting an increase said they were OK with paying more taxes to help schools.

The poll also found that 68 percent agree that it is important that students should have easier access to technology, both in school and out.

NSBA Executive Director and CEO Thomas J. Gentzel said, “Strong public schools are the best way for the nation to prosper. Students need support to thrive in our highly competitive world and to live a fulfilling life. As a cornerstone of our society, we need to make enhancing public education and serving the 50 million public school students our number one priority.”

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