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New PDK Poll Emphasizes Need for Investments in Public Education

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Heidi May Wilson, Senior Manager, Media Relations

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Aug. 31, 2017)—This week, Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) released the results from its 2017 Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. The findings demonstrate support for public schools and a need for greater investments in public education, as well as programs and services that improve children’s health, wellness and long-term success.

In the poll, Americans were asked their opinion on using public money to support private schools. 

  • 61% of Americans indicated they prefer a system through which public funds are used only to pay for public schools and cannot be directed to private or religious schools.
  • 54% of public school parents said that if they had a choice to send their child to a private or religious school using public funds, they would still send their child to a public school.
  • 52% of Americans responded that they oppose allowing students and parents to choose a private school to attend at public expense.

“Like most Americans, National PTA opposes any private school choice system that would divert desperately needed public school resources,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “Private school choice programs educate only a few, select students; are not governed by public officials accountable to the public; and have not been proven to improve student outcomes. Taxpayer dollars for education must carry the responsibility of providing public access, governance and accountability. Public dollars must remain invested in public schools for the benefit of all students and the future of our nation.”

In addition to supporting public schools, more than half of Americans polled said that public education should provide students with access to programs and services that support their success and prepare them for life after high school.

  • 82% of Americans said they see technology and engineering classes as extremely or very important.
  • 82% of Americans indicated that it is highly important for schools to help students develop interpersonal skills.
  • 79% of Americans support schools offering general health services.
  • 71% of Americans responded that it is extremely or very important that schools offer arts and music classes.

“As parents, we know that a great education includes experiences in the arts and STEM, as well as programs and services that provide for every child’s health, wellness and long-term success,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “As Congress considers an appropriations bill for FY2018, National PTA remains committed to advocating for increased investments in our nation’s public schools. All children must be provided a high-quality, well-rounded public education in an environment that meets their emotional, intellectual, physical and social needs in order to reach their full potential.”

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health and welfare of children and youth.