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.