For 14 years, the Education Next annual survey has tracked American opinion on education policy. We have gauged people’s views through the throes of the Great Recession, dramatic changes in partisan control in both Washington, D.C., and state capitols, and attendant shifts in the direction of federal and state education policy. None of that compares to the disruption that unfolded this spring, as the Covid-19 pandemic closed schools nationwide and brought the American economy to its knees.
This year’s survey, administered in May 2020, provides an early look at how the experiences of the past few months may shape Americans’ views on education policy going forward. The survey’s nationally representative sample of 4,291 adults includes an oversampling of teachers and of those who identify themselves as Black and Hispanic. (All results are adjusted for non-response and oversampling; see methods sidebar for details.)
In a companion essay, we report parents’ perspectives on their children’s educational experiences during the lockdowns (see “What American Families Experienced When Covid-19 Closed Their Schools,” features). Here we examine public opinion on issues at the core of education-policy debates as we head into the height of the 2020 presidential campaign. We start with a summary of the survey’s top findings.