More than three-fourths of parents of school-aged youth say they are satisfied with their child’s education, according to a new Gallup Poll.

Gallup’s annual Work and Education survey showed a perception gap between the general public’s view of primary and secondary schools and the parents of children in the education system. Overall just 44 percent of Americans said they were satisfied with K-12 education in the United States while 53 percent are dissatisfied.

Among parents, however, 35 percent said they were completely satisfied with their own child’s education and another 42 percent were somewhat satisfied. Dissatisfaction ran somewhat higher among public school parents, of whom 28 percent said they were completely satisfied and 47 percent somewhat satisfied with their children’s school.

Satisfaction was highest for parents whose oldest child was in elementary school. Forty-three percent of parents of students in grades K-6 said they were completely satisfied and 38 percent somewhat satisfied. For grades 7-12, just 28 percent were completely satisfied and 46 percent somewhat satisfied with their child’s education.

The satisfaction gap between Americans in general and those using the education system has been around since the survey started in 2000. The lowest satisfaction level occurred in August 2000, when it dipped to 36 percent. Pollsters attributed the decline to the 2000 presidential campaign, during which George W. Bush focused on problems in education and need for reform that led to passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

“Parents of school-aged children are feeling pretty good about the education their oldest child will receive this fall,” according to the latest survey. “The troublesome news is that, despite several years of No Child Left Behind changes operating in the nation’s schools, Americans are no more confident about the quality of education being delivered than they were in 1999, before Bush formally proposed the reforms.”

The poll was based on telephone interviews of 1,009 adults aged 18 and older conducted Aug. 7-10. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Bob Allen is managing editor of

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