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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Public is divided on public schools

Most Democrats say the public schools positive effect on the U.S. Most Republicans disagree. The partisan divide on the value of public schools is huge, reports Jenn Hatfield for Pew Research Center.

"The public is sharply divided along partisan lines on topics ranging from what should be taught in schools to how much influence parents should have over the curriculum."

While 72 percent of Democrats, and Democratic-leaning independents say K-12 schools are having a positive effect on the country, 61 percent of Republicans and GOP leaners see a negative effect, according to an October 2022 survey. About half of Republican parents of K-12 students (52%) said in a fall 2022 Center survey that the federal government has too much influence on what their local public schools are teaching, compared with two-in-ten Democratic parents, writes Hatfield.

Forty-four percent of Republican parents said parents don't have enough influence on what their local schools teach; Only 23 percent of Democrats agreed. "A larger share of Democratic parents – about a third (35%) – said teachers don’t have enough influence on what their local schools teach, compared with a quarter of Republican parents who held this view," writes Hatfield.

Republican and Democratic parents disagree on what their children should learn in school about certain topics, writes Hatfield.

In the fall 2022 survey, almost all K-12 parents said their children should learn about slavery in school. However, about two-thirds of Republican parents schools to teach that "slavery is part of American history but does not affect the position of Black people" today, while 70% of Democratic parents want "children to learn that the legacy of slavery still affects the position of Black people in American society today."

Check out the chart on what K-12 parents want taught about gender identity. Among all parents, 31 percent think sex is determined at birth, 31 percent think "someone can be a boy or girl even if that's different from sex at birth" and 37 percent say don't want schools to teach about gender identity.

Notice the racial split among Democrats.

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