Overall American trust in public schools remains low, with only 28% reporting that they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in public schools, down from 32% last year. Both numbers are short of the 41% reported in 2020, a level of trust not seen since 2004, with only 29% of Americans reporting having a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in public schools in 2018 and 2019.
Since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, Republicans’ trust in public schools has fallen much further than their Democrat counterparts. Gallup reports that only 14% of Republicans say they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in public schools, compared to 43% of Democrats.
And only 29% of independents report having a great deal or quite a lot of confidence.
This sentiment has evolved as the teaching of critical race theory, COVID masking and shutdown policies, the introduction of parental rights bills, and more have sparked a cultural debate among Republicans and Democrats over the past year.
Half of all polled Republicans say they have little to no faith in public schools, up 19 points from the 31% reported in 2019.
“Republicans’ confidence in public schools has been trending down for decades, and it tends to be lower when a Democrat is serving as president than when a Republican is in office,” Gallup said. “However, the 12-point drop in Republicans’ average level of confidence in public schools between Donald Trump’s presidency (29%) and under President Joe Biden’s (17%) is greater than would be predicted by those factors alone.”