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Public Generally Happy with Schools

Public Generally Happy with Schools


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Coco Warner ReportingHow do you feel about your public schools? It's a question a national poll recently asked with some unexpected results. There are still the typical frustrations regarding funding and overcrowding, but there's also some good news.

The Granite School District recently showcased information the from 35th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll that looks at public attitudes toward public education. The most unexpected result may be that the majority of Americans feel pretty good about their schools.

Forty eight-percent give their community's public schools a grade of an A or B. That number jumps to 55-percent among parents who have children attending public schools.

But a definite area of concern involves teachers: 61percent say schools have trouble recruiting good teachers. And that's partly due to salary concerns-- 59-percent believe teacher salaries are too low.

Poll results also show that people are concerned about the widening achievement gap between students, but the majority feel it's a problem schools can handle with existing funds. Utah school officials, however, disagree.

Stephen Ronnenkamp, Granite Superintendent: "If we were sitting in a state that had 10 thousand to 11 thousand dollars going per student I could maybe make an argument in terms of that. But when you look at the least amount of money for any state, you look at the largest class sizes in the country, you look at the least amount of administrators in the country-- i don't know where you squeeze more money."

The American public also sees itself as uninformed regarding the "No Child Left Behind Act." And support for school vouchers is on the decline. Only 38% would support private school attendance at public expense; it was 46% a year ago.

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