by Kendall Tietz
Over half of Americans don’t think schools have a responsibility to teach students about the ongoing impact of slavery and racism, according to according to a poll released Monday by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State University in partnership with APM Research Lab.
Two-thirds of Republican respondents and almost half of Independents said educators should only teach the history of slavery, according to the “Mood of the Nation” poll. Only one-fifth of Democratic respondents said exclusively the history of slavery should be taught.
The survey polled 1,200 people over the age of 18 starting in late November 2021, and the results generally varied depending on political affiliation. That said, the poll showed that 90% of respondents believed schools have a responsibility to teach about the history of slavery and scientific evolution.
Most respondents said they didn’t think governors and state legislators should have a “great deal of influence” over how concepts such as racism, slavery, creationism and sex education are taught in public schools and responded in favor of parents having the greatest influence on those topics.
Almost half of respondents said that the biblical stance on creation should be taught alongside scientific evidence of evolution, according to the poll. Respondents with a bachelor’s degree, higher incomes and Democrats were the most likely to take the position that exclusively the scientific evidence of creation should be taught.
Respondents 45 and older were the most supportive of parents having the greatest influence in how evolution is taught.
“It depends on a person’s religious belief,” a 61-year-old Black Democratic woman from Florida who identifies as a born-again Christian said in the survey. “If they believe, as I do, that man was created by God, then I think they should decide what and how their children should be taught concerning evolution.”
Of those polled, 51% of respondents said parents should have “a great deal of influence” over the subject of sex education, the poll showed. Three-fourths of respondents said students should learn about contraception and the dangers of diseases during sex education, while nearly one-fourth said the dangers of diseases and abstinence until marriage should be taught.
Republicans, born-again Christians and respondents 65 and older were the most likely to say parents should have the greatest influence on their children’s sex education, according to the poll results. Additionally, forty percent of respondents said health teachers should also have “a great deal of influence” in sex education.
“Because government departments of education don’t care about students. Parents should be teaching them about safety along with health teachers and professionals,” a 28-year-old Democratic Hispanic man from New York said, according to survey.
Over the course of the pandemic, as school boards have fielded complaints from parents over topics like COVID-19 policies and Critical Race Theory (CRT), multiple state legislatures and governors have proposed legislation and put forth executive orders that would give parents more say and provide more transparency about what their children are taught in public schools. Critics, including many educators and progressives, argue that GOP-proposed legislation censors teachers and restricts how they teach.
The maximum margin of error for the “Mood of the Nation” survey is 3.7 points.
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Kendall Tietz is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Teaching Children” by woodleywonderworks. CC BY 2.0.