by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Nicole Russell writes for the Washington Examiner about parents’ approach toward the midterm elections.
Polls show that eight in ten parents see public school curricula as a top concern. The only thing parents appear to care more about is inflation.
The proof is out there.
In Maryland, Montgomery County Schools this week addressed a “contentious curriculum” issue. In New Jersey, one group has called for an anti-Israel book to be excluded from the school’s curriculum. In Indiana, political observers think a failed curriculum bill actually “motivated a new wave of state house candidates.” A new Pew Research poll says parents differ sharply by party affiliation about what they want for their children’s curriculum. This deep polarization poses significant problems for our children’s education and future.
The debate among school boards and parents over issues such as critical race theory, history, sex education, and transgender education has heated up in the last couple of years. If it accomplished anything good, the COVID-19 pandemic pulled back the curtain on public school education, highlighting for busy parents what children were — and were not — learning. Some parents were stunned. Pew’s poll found that “Republican parents with children in K-12 schools are about twice as likely as Democratic parents to say parents don’t have enough influence.” Republicans are also more likely to say “school boards have too much influence.” About 60% of parents polled said curriculum that focuses too much on race and “overly accommodating transgender policies” are the biggest problems in public schools right now. Democrats and Republicans alike, around 77%, say “book banning” is a problem. This is when parents lobby school libraries to remove either ultra-conservative or sexually explicit books from their shelves.
Parents are split along party lines on whether their children should learn about gender identity issues in school. Likewise, they’re split on whether their children should learn that “the legacy of slavery still affects the position of black people,” as opposed to slavery being a part of history with little effect on how black people live today.