1 Press Contact: Corporate Communications The Harris Poll Schools are Improving Their Grades, but Schools Remain at the Head of the Class NEW YORK, N.Y. Americans' ratings of public schools are on the rise. Just under two in ten believe U.S. public schools provide an excellent or very good education nationally, at both the primary (19% for ) and secondary (18% for ). While there's still plenty of room for improvement, both scores have improved over the last seven years (from 15% and 13%, respectively, in 2008). However, other schooling systems are getting better grades dramatically better, in the case of private schools. In particular, four in ten Americans believe private schools provide an excellent or very good education (40% each primary and secondary), while just under four in ten say the same of private schools without affiliations (38% primary, 39% secondary). These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,273 U.S. adults surveyed online between July 15 and 20, Charter schools also outpace public, albeit less dramatically than their private counterparts: nationally, just over a quarter of American give charter schools excellent or very good ratings for the quality of education they provide (26% primary, 27% secondary). National ratings for charter schools have improved notably since 2008, when two in ten adults believed they provided an excellent or very good quality of education at both the primary and secondary levels (20% each). Homeschooling draws slightly stronger excellent or very good ratings than public schools as well (23% primary, 22% secondary). National homeschooling perceptions show little change since 2008, when two in ten Americans rated homeschooling excellent/very good (20% each primary and secondary). A school for every subject schools are dramatically more likely than public schools or home schooling to be seen as providing a better education in most areas measured: Education for gifted or talented children (51% private, vs. 17% public, 8% home), Preparing students for college (47% vs. 16%, 7%), Teaching foreign languages (44% vs. 16%, 6%), Art/music (43% vs. 20%, 6%), Science (42% vs. 20%, 6%) and math (42% vs. 17%, 7%), Reading & writing (38% vs. 16%, 12%) and English/literature (37% vs. 18%, 9%), and History (33% vs. 19%, 10%). schools are also most likely albeit with public schools in a closer second place to be seen as better at preparing students for employment (34% private vs. 24% public, 6% home), teaching good citizenship (32% vs. 24%, 10%), and education for special needs children (31% vs. 27%, 12%).
2 On the other hand, Americans are most likely to believe public schools are better at teaching students to get along with people from different backgrounds (54% vs. 16% private, 3% home), social skills with peers (45% vs. 25%, 4%), and physical education (41% vs. 18%, 5%). Americans don't see homeschooling at the head of the class in any of the categories tested. Do's and don'ts Nine in ten adults believe students benefit from having music included in their curriculum (89%), and 84% believe that participation in a physical education class or a sport should be a requirement for all students. These attitudes echo previous Harris Poll findings underscoring the perceived importance of music and sports participation and the dividends each can pay later in life. Strong majorities of adults also believe students benefit from having art included in their curriculum (89%) and from learning real-world skills (95%). A strong majority also believes that school uniforms are beneficial (60%), while only three in ten Americans agree that students' education benefits when classes are separated by gender (27%). To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit our new website, TheHarrisPoll.com. Want Harris Polls delivered direct to your inbox? Click here! TABLE 1A EVALUATION OF EDUCATION QUALITY: NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE SUMMARY GRID "Overall, how would you rate the quality of education provided by the following in? Excellent, very good, good, fair, poor, not sure?" Base: All adults schools with schools with schools Excellent/ Excellent Very good Good Fair/Poor Fair Poor Not sure Very good (NET) (NET) % % % % % % % %
3 without schools without Charter Charter Homeschooling, Homeschooling, *Prior to 2015, " schools with affiliations" were referred to as ", church-related schools." **Prior to 2015, " schools without affiliations" were referred to as ", non-church-related schools." TABLE 1B EVALUATION OF EDUCATION QUALITY: LOCAL PERSPECTIVE SUMMARY GRID "Overall, how would you rate the quality of education provided by the following in? Excellent, very good, good, fair, poor, not sure?" Base: All adults
4 Excellent/ Excellent Very good Good Fair/Poor Fair Poor Very good (NET) (NET) % % % % % % % schools with schools with schools without schools without Charter Charter Homeschooling, Homeschooling, *Prior to 2015, " schools with affiliations" were referred to as ", church-related schools."
5 **Prior to 2015, " schools without affiliations" were referred to as ", non-church-related schools." TABLE 1C EVALUATION OF EDUCATION QUALITY: NATIONAL AND LOCAL AREA PERSPECTIVE "Overall, how would you rate the quality of education provided by the following in? Excellent, very good, good, fair, poor, not sure?" Percent saying excellent/very good Base: All adults The United States Your Local Area The United States Your Local Area % % % % schools with schools with schools without schools without Charter grades 7-12 Charter grades K-6 Homeschooling, grades K-6 Homeschooling, grades 7-12 grades K-6 grades *Prior to 2015, " schools with affiliations" were referred to as ", church-related schools." **Prior to 2015, " schools without affiliations" were referred to as ", non-church-related schools."
6 TABLE 1D EVALUATION OF EDUCATION QUALITY: NATIONAL AND LOCAL AREA PERSPECTIVE "Overall, how would you rate the quality of education provided by the following in? Excellent, very good, good, fair, poor, not sure?" Percent saying poor/fair Base: All adults The United States Your Local Area The United States Your Local Area % % % % Homeschooling, grades 7-12 Homeschooling, grades K-6 grades K-6 grades 7-12 Charter grades 7-12 Charter grades K-6 schools without schools with schools with schools without *Prior to 2015, " schools with affiliations" were referred to as ", church-related schools." **Prior to 2015, " schools without affiliations" were referred to as ", non-church-related schools."
7 TABLE 2 BEST MODES OF EDUCATION FOR INDIVIDUAL SUBJECT AREAS "For each of the following areas, please indicate which type of schooling provides a better education." Base: All adults Home No Not Schools Schools schooling Difference Sure % % % % % Education for gifted or talented children Preparation for college Foreign language Art / Music Science Mathematics Reading and writing English/ Literature Preparation for employment History Good citizenship Education for special-needs children Social skills with peers Physical education Getting along with people from different backgrounds TABLE 3 BEST MODES OF EDUCATION FOR INDIVIDUAL SUBJECT AREAS - TREND "For each of the following areas, please indicate which type of schooling provides a better education."
8 Base: All adults Home Home Schools Schools schooling Schools Schools schooling % % % % % % Getting along with people from different backgrounds Social skills with peers Physical education Education for special-needs children Good citizenship Preparation for employment Art / Music Science History English/ Literature Education for gifted or talented children Mathematics Reading and writing Preparation for college Foreign language TABLE 4A STATEMENTS ABOUT SCHOOL AND EDUCATION OPTIONS "How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements?"
9 Base: All adults Students benefit from learning real-world skills (i.e., how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, how to prepare for a job interview, how to manage a personal budget). Students benefit from music being included in their curriculum. Students benefit from art being included in their curriculum. Participation in a physical education class or a sport should be a requirement for all students. There should be separate classes for students with developmental disabilities. School uniforms are beneficial. Students' education benefits when classes are separated by gender. AGREE (NET) Strongly agree Somewhat agree DISAGREE (NET) Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree % % % % % % Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding
10 TABLE 4B STAMTMENTS ABOUT SCHOOL AND EDUCATION OPTIONS "How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements?" Base: All adults Students benefit from learning real-world skills (i.e., how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, how to prepare for a job interview, how to manage a personal budget). Students benefit from music being included in their curriculum. Students benefit from art being included in their curriculum. Total Age Political Philosophy Con Mod Lib % % % % % % % % % %
11 Participation in a physical education class or a sport should be a requirement for all students. There should be separate classes for students with developmental disabilities. School uniforms are beneficial. Students' education benefits when classes are separated by gender. Note: Responses may not add up to 100% due to rounding Methodology This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between July 15 and 20, 2015 among 2,273 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The
12 Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Polls. The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll. Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. The Harris Poll #58, September 29, 2015 By Hannah Pollack, Harris Poll Research Analyst About The Harris Poll Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. Want Harris Polls delivered direct to your inbox? Click here!
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