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Majority of Americans believe public schools on the wrong track

Majority of Americans believe public schools on the wrong track (SBG)
Majority of Americans believe public schools on the wrong track (SBG)
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WASHINGTON (TND) – They were meant to be the great equalizer. Public schools in America were supposed to provide all students – whether rich or poor, urban or rural – with a good education.

But there are new indications those schools may be falling behind.

A Grinnell College National Poll released March 22 found the majority of Americans (64%) believe public schools are on the wrong track.

That includes 84% of Republicans, 44% of Democrats and 65% of Independents.

“This is not the first time that we have encountered significant problems in our country, in the world for which we have then said gosh couldn’t the schools be doing a better job," said Michael Feuer, Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, at George Washington University. Feuer added the U.S. has a history of this trend, so the numbers shouldn't be entirely surprising now.

Digging deeper into the numbers, much of that frustration seems to be fueled by the teaching about racism in the United States. It was the only major issue for which less than half of respondents indicated trust for educators on the matter.

The numbers that show this issue is on the minds of a lot of Americans, regardless of party, Feuer said.

“Both in terms of should we be teaching certain aspects of American racial history, and others, who are concerned that we are trying to prevent teaching a certain aspects of racial history.”

While some of the most memorable examples of this over the last few years have happened in local school board meetings, education has been pushed to the forefront on Capitol Hill as well

During questioning of Supreme Court nominee Kentanji Brown Jackson Tuesday, issues of race in education came up multiple times, including from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who brought books with him.

“When you refer to social justice and the school's mission on social justice, what did you mean by that?" he asked.

Education was also the foundation of Republican Glenn Youngkin’s campaign for governor of Virginia, a race he won in a seat more recently held by Democrats.

There’s also the pandemic, which brought about virtual learning and mask mandates, and played a role in widening the gap of inequalities in education.

“We’re looking at a staggering number of students who are going to fail to be productive," said Jeanne Allen, founder and CEO of The Center for Education Reform, in an interview earlier this month.

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