Most parents are concerned about the quality of education in the US. Those feelings are reflected in a Gallup poll of parents about their top concerns for US schools today. Here’s what it found out.

Lack Of Funding

Number one on the list was a lack of funding. Over 23 percent of Americans said that they thought that lack of funding was the greatest issue that schools faced. And compared with rural schools, urban schools tend to be doing much worse. According to the figures, 30 percent of Americans said that their local urban school was underfunded.

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Recently, we’ve seen a spate of problems relating to the lack of education funding. Many schools have not been able to afford textbooks. And some districts have laid off thousands of teachers in an attempt to make ends meet. According to the figures, by the summer of 2012, 351,000 teachers had lost their jobs. And even today, numbers are still more than 297,000 lower than what they were before the recession.

Lack Of Discipline

According to Gallup, 17 percent of Americans believe that schools are not disciplined. What’s more, the evidence appears to support that notion. Over recent years, discipline problems in schools have gotten worse. According to the NCES, 38 percent of schools are victims of vandalism every year. And now schools are having to use particular methods for removing grafitti, spending millions in the process. Recently, five teens were arrested in Arlington, Texas, for spray painting a rival school’s premises as part of a prank. The cleanup bill was more than $20,000.

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Overcrowding

Overcrowding in schools has always been a big issue, especially in inner city districts. But thanks to cuts in the budget and an expanding population, overcrowding is getting worse. It used to be the case that there was one teach for every twenty students. But that has changed dramatically, and now it’s more like one to every thirty-five.

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Use Of Drugs

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse conducted a study on drug use in schools. Remarkably, it found that 17 percent of high school students used drugs or alcohol while they were at school. The report focused on the experience of 1003 students between the ages of 12 and 17. What was so remarkable about the study was just how many people knew about the drug use on school premises. According to interviews with students, 86 percent knew about their peers using drugs. And most students saw the school grounds as a place where people habitually did drugs.

The study also measured the types of drugs being used. Of course, marijuana was the most common and easily accessible drug available. But a large number of students were using harder drugs, like ecstasy and cocaine.

What is surprising about this study is how it relates to the Gallup poll. In the Gallup poll, only 13 percent of parents thought that drug use at school was an issue. However, 86 percent of students knew that drug use was going on on the school grounds. So perhaps it’s a bigger problem than parents and teachers realize.