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Public Opinion Split on Shutting Down Schools, Poll Finds

Americans are divided on whether school districts should shut down under-enrolled neighborhood schools as a way to save money, a new poll from Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup finds.

Half of all respondents said they oppose closing schools, but for nonwhites, opposition was much higher at 64 percent. (See Table 33 in the poll.) The nationally representative poll surveyed 1,001 respondents 18 and older.

Waves of school closures in major urban districts such as Chicago and Philadelphia have mostly impacted minority students. In Chicago, for example, African-American students account for about 43 percent of the district's enrollment of 403,000, but 88 percent of the students whose schools are being shut down.

The new annual survey of public opinion toward public schooling from PDK/Gallup is out today (along with two other education-related polls released this week)and is chock full of findings on a range of hot topics right now, including common core (most folks are clueless about it) and standardized testing (there's no convergence of opinion on this sensitive issue across the three polls.)

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