As Rhetoric Heats Up, Many Parents Fear Politicians Are Using Children As ‘Political Pawns’


Laws leading to book bans and restricting teachers’ ability to discuss LGBTQ and racial issues in the classroom are about politics, not children’s best interests, a majority of parents said in a new national poll.

The results of the Ipsos survey– collected and scored for ParentsTogether, a non-profit organization focused on parents – touch on the growing political debates about what should be taught in schools. The debates have been fueled by legislation and other such efforts since 2021, mostly by conservative politicians and state education officials, restricting how issues like race and gender can be addressed in schools.

“The whole purpose of the survey was to put some of these sounds in a much larger context. And the context, as I think the survey makes clear, is that most parents don’t really care about some of these very politicized issues and are much more focused on making sure kids can be, on the whole, successful.” said Chris Jackson. Senior Vice President at Ipsos, a research company.

The survey was conducted in late August with 1,301 adults over the age of 18 across the country (including 443 parents). It is representative of the US adult population, and the results have been weighted to account for respondents’ age, race, metropolitan status, and income. continental US, Alaska and Hawaii, so yes? I find? IN

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Sixty-six percent of respondents overall, and 73 percent of parents in particular, “believe elected officials and political groups are most responsible for recent disagreements about what’s taught in K-12 public schools.” Just 30 percent of surveyed parents and others agreed that “state or local elected officials should influence elementary school curricula,” with most citing teachers and parents as the preferred parties responsible for making those decisions.

As of January 2021, EdWeek has found this in 42 states Have introduced bills or taken other steps that would restrict teaching of the academic theory known as critical race theory or restrict the way teachers can discuss racism and sexism. Heads of state have described these efforts as being in the interests of students and parents, and a “parents’ rights” framework has also been used by groups seeking to ban books from classrooms and libraries.

The new poll suggests that not all parents are buying this story.

69 percent of the overall Ipsos survey respondents and 68 percent of parents expressly agreed that these laws are “driven by politicians to advance their careers”. And 73 percent of adults — and 74 percent of parents — said, “Politicians use children as political pawns in school.”

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“Parents can see through these political agendas and don’t want politicians to ban books or censor honest parenting,” Ailen Arreaza, co-director of ParentsTogether, said in a statement.

The survey found that school safety, student mental health and adequate school funding were respondents’ top priorities for schools and areas that elected officials should focus their attention on.

New findings reflect different measures of how voters and parents feel about school policies

Two other recent surveys revealed similar concerns. Made one earlier this year from Impact Research found that a majority of voters would like politicians to focus more on efforts to restore learning than on gender and race issues.

And the Ipsos survey also complements the results of a National Parents Union survey in August of more than 1,000 parents who found that the majority of parents believe that both teachers and parents should have more say in schools than the states and federal government.

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Keri Rodrigues, the organization’s president, said laws banning certain types of talk in schools distract from parents’ major concerns. They are concerned about issues with school transportation, student mental health and ensuring that pandemic relief funds are used appropriately to meet student needs.

“We need our elected officials to actually fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities, not just to fund, but to make sure that funding actually gets us where we’re trying to get for children,” Rodrigues said. “And they don’t do that at all.

“Instead, they’re distracted by all these side issues that have nothing to do with making sure our kids graduate from America’s public education system with access to the opportunities that we want to give them all,” she said.

Politicized issues, such as classroom conversations about race, have also contributed to educators’ stress recently. New survey results from the RAND Corporation show that 61 percent of school principals surveyed and 37 percent of teachers surveyed said they had experienced harassment over these politicized issues.

The Ipsos survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for adults and 5 percentage points for parents.





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