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Americans Agree Public Schools Are Good Investment But Say Their Quality Has Fallen

Most Americans feel public schools are a good investment for taxpayers but also agree that the quality of public school education has gone down in recent years.

A new Rasmussen Reports national survey finds that 62% of American Adults say public school education is a good investment for taxpayers. Twenty-six percent (26%) disagree, and 11% are not sure.  (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Nearly as many (61%), however, say public school education has become worse over the past 10 years, a view virtually unchanged from May 2008. Only 22% say public schools have improved in the past decade, while another 17% are undecided.

Adults with children currently in grades K through 12 are slightly less critical: 56% say the schools have gotten worse in the last 10 years, but 30% say they are better now.

Fifty percent (50%) of all adults believe public school education is generally better for students than private schools and home schooling.  Thirty-five percent (35%) think private school is a better option.  Eight percent (8%) prefer schooling in the home.  In August 2003, adults were almost evenly divided between public and private schools, with home schooling in distant third place.  Parents with children now in the schools disagree little with the overall findings.

 (Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on February 23-24, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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