Poll shows parents concerned over politicization, safety in public schools

By David N. Bass

Raleigh, NC – A new Civitas poll shows that North Carolina parents are concerned about the safety of students in the classroom and the politicization of public schools.

Elementary school children

Seventy-two percent of parents surveyed said classroom instruction has become more political in the last five years. That concern was bi-partisan, with 84% of Republicans saying they were worried, 69% of Independents, and 67% of Democrats.

As for who is to blame for the increase in politicization, 41% said both political parties are equally responsible, while 29% put the blame on Democrats and 14% on Republicans.

“Growing numbers of Americans are beginning to think of classrooms as places of indoctrination, infested with politics. That’s a sharp criticism of public education,” said Dr. Bob Luebke, director of the Center for Effective Education at the John Locke Foundation. 

Forty-seven percent reported agreeing with the statement that “teachers share their personal beliefs in the classroom in an attempt to influence the beliefs of their students,” compared to 35% who disagreed. 

For a solution, a plurality of parents — 36% — chose requiring “teachers to show no preference for certain ideas.” Twenty-seven percent said that certain topics should be prohibited in the classroom, 17% said teacher lesson plans should be published online, and 12% said there should be cameras in classrooms.

Forty-five percent of parents say too much time is spent teaching about sexual preference and gender identity. That holds especially true for Republicans, Independents, rural, and suburban parents, and parents between the ages of 35 and 64.

Asked to rank the biggest challenges facing public schools, 19% said teacher shortages and lack of staff, 14% unsafe schools, 12% the politicization of schools, 11% inappropriate topics on sexual orientation and gender fluidity, and 10% a lack of support and respect for teachers.