Americans express support for traditional public schools in new poll, even as Trump disparages them

Most American adults are weary of the intense focus on academics in public schools today, according to a new national survey, and want students to get more vocational and career training as well as mental, physical and dental services on campus. Even so, a majority of public school parents give higher grades — A’s and B’s — to the traditional public schools in their neighborhoods than they have in years.

A majority of Americans polled also said they oppose programs that use public money for private and religious school education, policies that are supported by President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. And a majority said they do not think that standardized test scores  — which have been used for more than a dozen years as the most important factor in evaluating schools — are a valid reflection of school quality.

These are some of the findings in the 49th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, the longest continuously running survey of American attitudes toward public education, released late Monday. It was commissioned by PDK International, a global association of education professionals that is headed by Joshua Starr, former superintendent of the Montgomery County Public School District, and was conducted, for the second year, by Langer Research Associates of New York City. Gallup had long conducted the poll.

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