Forty-one percent of parents in America say they are not confident that their public schools' will have enough teachers and staff available to meet the needs of their students, according to a new NBC News poll.
Just 25% of registered American voters raising children under the age of 18 say they're confident in their public schools' staffing levels — 16% have "a great deal" of confidence and 9% say they're "quite a bit" confident.
Meanwhile 33% only have "some" confidence, and 41% say they aren't confident (28% have "very little" confidence and 13% have "none at all).
Among parents, men are overwhelmingly more likely to reflect a lack that faith in the schools than women — 52% of men have either "very little" or no confidence in that staffing, and just 19% have "a great deal" or "quite a bit" of confidence. By comparison, 31% of women with children have "a great deal" or "quite a bit" of confidence, with 29% having little to no confidence their community's public schools will meet the staffing needs.
Pluralities of parents across socioeconomic groups, political ideology and ethnicity lack that confidence. While parents in the Northeast, South and Western states agree, a slight plurality of Mid-western parents are more confident in their schools' ability to find staff than not.
However, as schools begin to open for another fall with Covid-19 looming in the background, parents are more confident that their community's schools can handle that re-opening safely.
Fifty-four percent of those raising children under 18 say they are either "a great deal" or "quite a bit" confident public schools can be kept open safely for in-person instruction while dealing with Covid. Just 19% say they have "little" or no confidence, while 25% say they have some confidence.
Parents are split about whether those public schools can help their kids catch up to the learning loss that has stemmed from the pandemic — 37% are either a "great deal" or "quite a bit" confident, 28% have some confidence and and 35% have little or no confidence.
And they're also split on their public schools' ability to have preparations in place to deal with an active shooter — 30% have confidence, 35% only have some confidence, and 33% have little or no confidence.
The mixed opinions are indicative of a years-long decline in confidence in public schools, noted Micah Roberts, a partner at the polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, which conducted this survey along with Hart Research Associates.
Registered voters are split — a third have either a "great deal" or "quite a bit" of confidence in schools, a third have "some" confidence, and a third have little to no confidence in public schools broadly.
"It's hard to see how 37% say they are confident their community schools can get kids caught up from Covid learning loss with only 25% saying they’re confident there will be enough teachers available. That seems a hard feat," Roberts added.