Department of Education Lands Close to Bottom of the List of Favorable Agencies

By Joelle Fredman, NASFAA Staff Reporter

When asked about their opinions on 16 government agencies — which included the Postal Service, Veterans Affairs, and the FBI —  Americans ranked the Department of Education (ED) as one of their least favorite, coming only second to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to a new Pew Research Center survey

The survey — conducted last month with 2,004 adult respondents — found that of all the agencies it asked about, ICE was the only one that the public shared more negative views of (54%) than positive opinions (42%), and that Americans were split on their views of ED. While 48% of respondents “expressed favorable views” of ED, another 48% also had negative opinions of the agency. To compare, the Postal Service and National Park Service, the top two agencies on the Pew list, received favorable views from 90% and 86% of respondents and negative views from just and 8% and 7% of respondents, respectively. 

Additionally, the survey found that ED received the lowest marks from Republicans, with only 48% expressing favorable opinions of the agency, followed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with 59% Republicans viewing the agency positively. Only about half of Democrats (47%) expressed positive opinions of ED as well, representing a “shift from surveys conducted throughout the Obama administration, when Democrats were consistently more likely than Republicans to view [ED] favorably.”

Another Pew study released last year found that a majority of Americans (61%) say the nation’s postsecondary education system is heading in the wrong direction. Researchers found that overall, the most commonly cited reasons were high tuition costs (84%), students not getting the skills they need in the workplace (65%), colleges and universities being too concerned about protecting students from views they might find offensive (54%), and professors bringing their political and social views into the classroom (50%).


Publication Date: 10/3/2019

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