Poll: Democrats, Republicans disagree on education

  • Democrats and Republicans have differing views on education curriculum
  • Poll shows Americans broadly agree on some big challenges facing schools
  • Learning loss due to COVID and the teacher shortage are key concerns

(NewsNation) — Democrats and Republicans disagree when it comes to some of the top issues facing America’s public schools, according to a NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll released Tuesday.

A plurality of Democrats surveyed, 27%, said they’re most concerned about the history of race in the US being taught accurately. Republicans were most likely to say their biggest concern is limiting discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity — about 27% said so.

The findings reflect a stark partisan divide on education as Americans continue to debate what should be taught and when.

On challenges unrelated to a specific curriculum, however, voters on both sides of the aisle broadly agreed.

Of the 1,000 registered voters surveyed, learning loss due to COVID-19 was the leading concern for all respondents, with 19% ranking that as the top issue. Finding qualified teachers was close behind at 18%.

Both issues have been front and center as states continue to grapple with a post-pandemic education environment characterized by plummeting test scores and a shortage of educators.

When it comes to who should have the “ultimate authority” to decide what gets taught in public schools, respondents were split. About 26% of those surveyed said the state board of education should have that power, while 25% thought parents should.

Democratic voters were most likely to say the state board (32%), while Independents (26%) and Republicans (37%) were most likely to say parents.

Overall, respondents were slightly more worried about a “conservative agenda” influencing their local education system than a “liberal agenda” — 40% to 34%.

Voters from both political parties favored their own side’s approach but independents were slightly more worried about a conservative agenda in the classroom.

The differing views on education have thrust small, local elections into the spotlight.

Once an afterthought, school board races have become hotly contested political battlegrounds since the pandemic. State-level politicians on both sides of the aisle have thrown their weight behind candidates to get them over the finish line.

Last year, a NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll found just over 90% of respondents say that parents should at least have some control over their children’s public school curriculum.


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