Most Parents Factor Public Education in their Decision in 2020 Fall Election, Latest PDK Poll Finds


James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell) 

Another Key Issue: Retracting, Retaining Good Teachers

Alexandria, Va. – Aug. 25, 2020 – Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement today following the release of the 52nd annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.

“I’ve said many times that public education represents the lifeblood of American communities. Several findings from the 2020 PDK Poll, particularly among parents, bear that out with six out of 10 adults affirming public education is extremely important or very important in their vote for president this fall, while the importance rises to nearly three-quarters (70%) among parents.

“An overwhelming majority (85%) of those surveyed are calling on Washington to scale up teacher quality by placing more attention on attracting and retaining good teachers, regardless of who occupies the White House. Equally as important, more than three-quarters (77%) cite college affordability as an issue on which the administration should place more emphasis, while more than two-thirds (68%) would like to see more emphasis placed on protecting students from discrimination.

“I am pleased that the survey looked at diversity, one of the most critical issues in today’s public education landscape. However, I am deeply concerned that, according to the poll, only a narrow majority (percentage varies depending on the program) would oppose special programs that would reduce school diversity. The mission of AASA clearly states our commitment to equity and the removal of barriers that keep minority students out of quality programs.

“Not surprisingly, funding weighs heavily on the minds of parents as we find that this issue is their No. 1 priority in the category of problems facing public schools. This matter is only going to escalate since we now know that $200 billion is needed for our schools to meet their needs during the pandemic.

“We are encouraged by a key finding affirming only 38% favor the expansion of charter schools, but we are concerned that more than half (53%) support vouchers. AASA has long held a belief that funneling public dollars into the coffers of private institutions would hurt public education, especially those students who need our help the most. Meanwhile, we were also encouraged that the percentage of adults surveyed who said too much emphasis is being placed on testing outnumbered those who felt otherwise by a convincing 2-to-1 margin (41% to 21%).

“I commend Josh Starr, chief executive officer of PDK International, and his team for providing an important snapshot of America’s beliefs about our public schools. He notes that this year’s results came prior to the arrival of the pandemic, as well as the murder of George Floyd and the nationwide demonstrations that followed. However, the poll’s findings generate plenty of food for thought in terms of the challenges school systems are facing while trying to map out their plans for opening the 2020-21 academic year in a safe way in the midst of a public health crisis.

“We are committed to creating the opportunities that benefit every child in America and narrowing the achievement gap in our schools, regardless of their zip codes. The results of this year’s PDK Poll will help guide the narrative as we navigate the pandemic and beyond.”

About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit