New Ipsos poll for ParentsTogether finds that in the current education debate, 74% of parents feel that politicians are using kids in school as political pawns.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As students across the country are returning to school, a new Ipsos poll for ParentsTogether finds parents believe that the recent laws banning books or making it illegal for teachers to talk about LGBTQ or racial issues are about politics, not what’s in the best interest of children. The poll strongly calls into question politicians’ claim to speak for all parents when they ban books and curriculum.
Two in three (66%) Americans and nearly three in four parents (73%) think that elected officials and political groups are the most responsible for the recent disagreements over what’s taught in public K-12 schools. Most parents (68%) and Americans (69%) feel that the recent conflicts over library books and history classes are being driven by politicians to advance their careers. Few parents (31%) believe that these state laws are being driven by parents’ concerns, and only 10% of parents believe that political groups should have a say over school curriculum.
“The reality is, parents are fed up with politicians messing with our kids’ education, while they pretend to care about what parents want,” said Ailen Arreaza, co-Director at ParentsTogether. “The data is clear. Parents can see right through these political agendas and don’t want politicians banning books or censoring an honest education. They need politicians to be focused on funding public education and keeping kids safe. And they want their children to stop being used as political pawns.”
When given the choice, most parents (87%) and Americans (86%) feel lessons about racism prepare children to build a better future for everyone as opposed to feeling that lessons about racism are harmful to children. This is a sentiment shared across partisan lines.
“Despite what politicians and even the media want us to think, the overwhelming majority of parents are together on this,” Arreaza said. “Parents don’t want culture wars or censorship entering the classroom. They believe kids should learn about our full history, our diverse stories, and receive an education that will prepare them for the future.”
The poll also finds:
- 77% of parents, and 76% of Americans, strongly agree that classrooms should be places for learning, not political battlegrounds.
- When it comes to state laws banning books or making it illegal for teachers to talk about LGBTQ or racial issues, most Americans (75%) and parents (69%) believe they’re about politics – and not in the best interest of children.
- Super majorities feel classroom should not be politicized
- Few Americans (23%) or parents (21%) support firing teachers who discuss issues of racism and LGBTQ rights in the classroom.
- Most parents feel it is important for elected leaders to focus on ensuring students are safe (93%), and ensuring schools have adequate funding (93%).
“This survey shows that the large majority of parents are worried about practical issues in their children’s education like safety or preparing them for life,” described Chris Jackson, Senior Vice President at Ipsos. “Indeed, most parents do not welcome politicians pushing into education and believe educators should be central in curriculum development.”
These findings are based on a poll from ParentsTogether conducted by Ipsos from August 19 – 22, 2022. A sample of 1,301 adults, with an oversample of parents, age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The poll has a margin of error of 3.0 percentage points for all respondents.
ParentsTogether is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization providing independent reporting and commentary on issues that affect kids and families. We cover the latest research, policies, and trends so that busy parents have the information they need to help their families thrive. In both our reporting and our commentary, we value accuracy, present facts fairly, and aim to provide news coverage that is reflective of and relevant to our audience.
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