A recent Gallup poll reports that confidence in the nation’s public schools has fallen to a low of 34 percent, almost a record. More striking: confidence is lowest in the blue-state educational utopias on the coasts and highest in the South. No doubt blue partisans will argue that Southern yahoos are satisfied with their pathetic schools because they don’t know what a real education looks like. But then liberals are more satisfied with public schools than conservatives, the poll also says. Does this mean that liberals have low educational standards? Or are they (and the Southerners) better informed?The central point: confidence in the public schools has been waning since the 1970s when 58 percent of those polled thought the schools were OK.The cost of education: dramatically up. The perceived quality of education: dramatically down.Bad news, wherever you are.