64% in NC give schools a C grade or higher for dealing with COVID crisis, survey finds

School Watch

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WNCN) — We’ve seen the protests outside of school board meetings all across North Carolina.

But are the loud voices actually in the minority?

According to the University of High Point’s latest survey, 64 percent of North Carolinians give a rating of C or higher when it comes to how local public schools have handled COVID-19.

“For the most part people believe that their local schools, people who are working with education generally are doing a pretty good job with a difficult hand that they’ve been dealt,” said Martin Kifer, director of the Survey Research Center.

RELATED: Click here to see the full results from the poll (pdf document)

Most surveyed said teachers should be paid more. Teachers and principals also came out on top as most respected. Some elected officials fell in the middle.

But school boards and state legislators are the least respected.

“Generally speaking I think you see a citizenry who are exhausted by everything that’s happened over the last couple of years,” said Kifer.

Kifer said answers to questions regarding school performance have remained near the same when compared to past polling.

“When we look at past surveys those estimates are relatively stable. How people feel about their local schools and state schools and so forth. When we talk about school performance we see that people are clustered around that C level in terms of local schools and state schools. And then when we ask how they should be judged we also get a similar response where 40-some percent of people want the schools to be judged on overall improvement rather than how many kids meet a particular proficiency level. That’s something where the message is relatively clear from year to year,” Kifer said.

Focusing on the positive might also make a difference.

“We do think that a fair number of people believe schools are doing a pretty good job but talking about successes and having some constructive approaches to what’s happening in education will help. I think that people have to be communicating about the successes in schools. I think that’s one of the reasons you see stuff clustered around the middle,” said Kifer.

Polling does tend to show an overall frustration in elected officials.

“Citizens have a view that it should be that people can get things done and they’re demoralized in part sometimes about by that kind of bickering. So working on some things that people can agree on might help to bolster confidence in the system,” Kifer said.

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