More Americans support public education for the children of immigrants without legal status, according to a new national survey on educational attitudes.
The 46th annual “Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools” conducted by Gallup and Phi Delta Kappa International, an educators’ organization, found 49 percent of respondents favored providing “free public education to children of immigrants who are in the United States illegally.”
The group asked the same question in 2013 and found 44 percent in support, but the majority opposed.
Tens of thousands of children and teenagers have streamed across the southwest border in recent months, fleeing poverty and gang violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The surge of children – many who landed in Georgia – has become a flash point in the congressional debate over immigration and in Georgia’s gubernatorial race.
Results from the study are based on a phone study completed by 1,001 adults across the nation.
This year, the organization asked two questions related to the children of immigrants without papers. Half of the sample was asked about the issue using the words “free public education” and “illegal.” It was the same question asked last year, and this time 50 percent said they did not believe the children should be educated in public schools.
The other half of respondents was asked whether they “favor or oppose providing public education to children of immigrants who are undocumented.” Fifty-six percent responded in favor.
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