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Education

August 19, 2013

AP-NORC Poll: Race, income divide views of schools

WASHINGTON (AP) — Minority and low-income parents are more likely to see serious problems in their schools — from low expectations to bullying to out-of-date technology and textbooks — than those who are affluent or white, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research Poll.

Overall impressions of the nation's schools and teachers are similarly positive among all groups of parents, but deep demographic differences emerge in the details of how parents see teachers, schools and even their own roles in their children's education.

The divisions fall along the familiar fault lines of income, education and race that drive so much of American life. In many cases, it's as though parents are looking at two very different sets of schools in this country.

Most parents say the school their child attends is high-quality and rate their children's teachers positively. White parents are only slightly more likely than others to give their child's school high marks, and parents of all races give their local schools similar ratings for preparing students for college, the workforce, citizenship and life as an adult.

A majority of parents say their children are receiving a better education than the one they received, but blacks and Hispanics feel more strongly than whites that this is the case. The poll also shows minorities feel they have a greater influence over their children's education.

And the ways parents assess school quality and the problems they see as most deeply affecting their child's school vary greatly by parents' race, education and income level.

Sean Anderson, 30, whose children will be in the third and fifth grades in Waxahachie, Texas, this fall, says their schools are probably fine compared with others near him in Dallas, but he worries their education isn't as good as it could be.

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