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What Do Americans Say Is the Biggest Problem Facing Public Schools?

Hint: it's not ineffective teachers or campus violence.


Is the biggest problem facing public schools ineffective teachers? The media's fascination with tales of failing schools, rubber rooms, and kids waiting for 'Superman', would certainly have you think that's the case. According to the 44th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, Americans actually see a lack of financial support as the biggest problem facing their community schools.

Indeed, for a third year in a row, 71% of poll respondents say they have trust and confidence in the nation's teachers. But 43% of parents and 35% of Americans in general say money is the biggest issue. A decade ago in 2002, just 17% of poll respondents cited a lack of funds for schools as a problem. Back then Americans felt the biggest problems facing schools were overcrowding and discipline issues like fighting, gangs, and drugs. Now only 14% of Americans think those things are big problems.

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