A recent large-scale poll illustrates just how much people in the South support public education. After results of The Education Poll of the South were analyzed, it was found that 84% of the respondents believe that the state should adjust school funding to achieve more parity between communities. Additionally, 57% of respondents were willing to trade off tax increases for increasing spending in education.
There were 2,200 total respondents from across 12 states. The poll was given by a group of seven nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations associated with education.
Across the country, isolated urban areas (think Manhattan and the wealthiest parts of California’s Bay Area and Los Angeles) and affluent suburban regions are relatively well-funded, have students who come from well-education families, and have strong parental participation. Just miles away, there are districts where single parents are struggling to get food on the table, kids come to kindergarten without strong foundations, and drop-out rates are high.
This is just as true, if not more so, in the South. States have high-performing districts like those in the Atlanta suburbs and low-performing schools in rural communities and downtrodden urban areas.
It seems that citizens are recognizing the fact that specific communities may need varying levels of support, especially in terms of financing a system that can attend to the needs of the students.
It remains to be seen whether the study’s findings will be reflected in the polls and whether a change in governing can lead to improvements in student achievement. What is known, though, is that the problem of inequity is an established one, and that many would be supportive of increased efforts to raise education spending.