The back-to-school frenzy is on, but with a decidedly political twist, as the following surveys reveal.
A recent month-long Gallup Panel found that:
- 57% of K-12 teachers are “very concerned” about being exposed to the coronavirus on the job:
- 18% of teachers are “moderately concerned.”
- 25% of teachers are either “not too concerned “or “not at all concerned.”
On the other hand:
- Just 21% of other workers are “very concerned” about coronavirus exposure on the job.
- 29% of other workers are “moderately concerned.
- 50% of other workers are either “not too concerned” or “not at all concerned.”
That begs the question: How safe or unsafe would teachers be if, like dentists poking around in our mouths, they donned masks, shields, and rubber gloves?
Meanwhile, a new Peterson Foundation poll found that 61% of voters believe “returning students to brick-and-mortar schools will harm the economy by fueling the spread of the coronavirus.”
And that, by the way, breaks down to:
- 84% of Democrats opposed to a return to in-person schooling
- 63% of Independents opposed to such a return
- 30% of Republicans opposed to such a return
Meanwhile, an August 18 EDNext poll of 4,291 adults and an over-sampling of teachers revealed that:
- 73% of parents now back having their kids take some high school online classes.
- 30% of respondents gave our public schools either an A or a B—the highest approval rating ever and 6% above last year’s; the majority, however, gave them a C, D, or F.
- 66% of Democrats support teacher pay raises; Republicans came in at 40%.
Then there’s the Trump effect in the poll:
- Among the general public, 44% said they support charter schools.
- Democrats came in at 37%, but that dropped to 30% after they learned of Trumps’ support.
- Republican support for charters rose from 54% to 65% upon learning of Trump’s support.
Of note: Despite Trump’s charter school support, his most recent budget proposal eliminates $440 million in dedicated charter school aid, combining it with several other big programs into a block grant.
- Support for charter schools slipped from 47% to 44%.
- Opposition slipped from 40% to 37%.
And so it goes in these divided and divisive pandemic times.