Record-Low Number of Americans Trust Public Schools

Published June 25, 2012

A record-low number of Americans—29 percent—say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the nation’s public schools in Gallup’s latest poll. Confidence has been declining since the mid-1980s, when approximately half of Americans polled expressed that much confidence in public schools.

“The declining confidence seems to be part of a broader pattern, rather than a product of isolated issues facing individual institutions,” the Gallup report stated. “Once Americans begin to feel better about the way things are going in the United States, some of their lost confidence in the country’s major institutions will likely be restored.”

In the poll, taken every year since 1973, Americans’ confidence in nearly all institutions pollsters asked them about was lower than last year or held steady.

Respondents expressed record-low levels of confidence in churches or organized religion, banks, and television news. Confidence in most of the 19 institutions polled about was below historical averages. In 1973, 58 percent of Americans expressed confidence in public schools.

The other response options were “some” or “very little” confidence. 


Image by Jay Baker.