Polls are taken on many subjects and issues today. They have been proven to be more accurate than not in most cases. Poll taking is very professional. Candidates for political offices especially are influenced greatly by polls.

A Gallup Poll conducted in early June indicates that many, many people today do not have much confidence in our public school systems. Gallup said the confidence in public schools in the U.S. dropped to the lowest level in the last four decades.

Just 29 percent of the people polled said they had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in public schools. Forty percent said they have some confidence and 30 percent said little or none. In conducting the poll, 1,004 adults were interviewed. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Why this poor rating for public education? We do have some very poor public school systems in metro areas and in some rural areas. Public school unions in metro areas are believed to be a reason. We hear criticism that the unions protect poor teachers and stand in the way of making changes that would be beneficial to the education programs and improve discipline. A factor certainly is a lack of resources in many districts. We hear of waste in districts. We read of low scores by students. Discipline is restricted. The poor performing school districts generate bad publicity. All of this lowers the public’s confidence in public schools.

It should be added that the students who perform poorly in substandard school districts too often come from a broken family and neighborhood environments. Teachers can’t be expected to assume the role of parents of the students in their classrooms. However, that’s what some teachers have to do. There are many remedial programs in public schools today because there is a lack of eduction in the home. These catch up courses add to the cost of educating children.

Residents of public school districts should take more interest in education. They should encourage, even demand, quality in education. Too many people never attend a board meeting and never seek election to their boards of education.

It’s a fact that most of our public schools are turning out good students who go on to higher education and do well. There are countless success stories about graduates of our public schools who are good citizens and have success in their fields of endeavor.

One of the elements of life in America that has made this country great is our public school systems. It is part of the structure that make this nation strong. Yes, we have shortcomings in some components of our educational system that raise concerns about our country’s future. Public education needs a higher level of appreciation by Americans. We take if for granted and have allowed cracks in its structure.

We haven’t lost confidence in our public school system. There are districts that are below acceptable standards. We would like to see less mandates from the state and federal governments. Local control has been slowly eroding. The best school districts are those that promote a quality education, which leads to pride. We have too many residents of districts who have low attention levels when it comes to education and who are no-shows, nonparticipants, who complain about their public school taxes but are noncontributors when it comes to personal involvement in support measures.

In public education, the residents of a district should accept the responsibility of being active participants to ensure educational quality. If there is a lack of confidence in the educational quality, it can be restored by taking an interest in the operational process by being a participant instead of being a curbside critic.