Gallup: Americans Rate Public Schools the Worst Place to Educate Children

August 29, 2012 - 5:35 PM

school bus

(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - A new Gallup poll released today indicates that Americans rate public schools the worst place to educate children.

In the national survey conducted Aug. 9-12, private independent schools, parochial and church-related schools, charter schools and home-schooling all rated higher than public schools.

Gallup interviewers asked respondents: "I’m going to read a list of ways in which children are educated in the U.S. today. As I read each one, please indicate--based on what you know or have read and heard--how good an education each provides children--excellent, good, only fair, or poor. How about: public schools, parochial or church-related schools, independent private schools, charter schools, or home-schooling?"

Only 5 percent said they believe public schools give children an excellent eduction.

Another 32 percent said they believe public schools give children a good education. But this combined 37 percent who said public schools give children an excellent or good education was the lowest among the different types of schools Gallup included in its survey.

Americans ranked independent private schools highest, with 31 percent saying they provide an excellent education and 47 percent saying they provide a good education--for a combined 78 percent who say they provide an excellent or good education.

Parochial and church-related schools ranked second, with 21 percent saying they provide an excellent education and 48 percent saying they provide a good education--for a combined 69 percent who say they provide an excellent or good education.

Charter schools came in third, with 17 percent saying they provide an excellent education and 43 percent saying the provide a good education--for combined 60 percent positive rating.

Home-schooling came in fourth, with 13 percent saying it provides an excellent education and 33 percent saying it provides a good education--for a combined 46 percent who give it a positive rating.

Public schools finished fifth--or last place.

Nineteen percent of Americans said they believe public schools give students a "poor" education. Only 2 percent said that about independent private schools, and only 5 percent said that about parochial and church-related schools and charter schools. Fourteen percent said they thought home-schooling provided students with a poor education.

The Gallup survey was based on a random sample of 1,012 American adults and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage point. Of the 1,012 surveyed, 236 said they were parents of a child who will be attending school in grades K through 12 this school year. (This small sub-sample had a margin of error of +/- 8 percentage points.)

Among the parents sending their children to school in grades K through 12 this year, 83 percent said they were sending their child to a public school, 9 percent to an independent private school, and 2 percent to a parochial or church-related school.