Poll Improvement 146911006
What Americans say about…

School improvement: Should we improve schools or start from scratch?

Majority preference for reforming rather than remaking the school system holds across groups, although there are differences.

Whatever the challenges facing the public schools, Americans in the 2018 PDK poll want to improve the system — not upend it. Seventy-eight percent — a new high in PDK polls that began asking the question in 1997 — prefer “reforming the public school system” over “finding an alternative” to the existing system.That includes a vast gap in strength of sentiment: Fifty-five percent strongly prefer reforming the system, while just 15% strongly favor replacing it.

Majority preference for reforming rather than remaking the school system holds across groups, although there are differences. Hispanics aren’t as attached to the current system; 65% prefer reform over alternatives vs. 81% of blacks and 79% of whites. Among whites, the preference for reform peaks among white women with college degrees (87%) compared with white men who do not have college degrees (73%), with a 21-point gap in the strength of that sentiment.

Liberals (83%) and moderates (80%) are more likely than conservatives (69%) to back reform. About one-quarter of conservatives strongly prefers finding alternatives, compared with 1 in 10 liberals and 1 in 8 moderates.

Results are similar when it comes to reforming or reconstituting schools in one’s own community rather than nationally, with 78% preferring reform and 21% backing alternatives. Seventy-two percent prefer reform at both levels, compared with just 15% who favor alternatives to the current system in both.

Pdkpoll K12A Reform Demographics

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