Poll: Parents want schools focused on basics, not critical race theory

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By BRENDAN CLAREY | THE CENTER SQUARE

The vast majority of people think schools should focus on traditional subjects like math, reading and science, and a majority also say critical race theory should not be taught, a new poll shows. 

According to The Center Square Voters’ Voice Poll conducted by Noble Predictive, most surveyed said they want schools to focus on core subjects instead of hot-button topics like critical race theory.

Critical race theory is a theoretical framework that explores systematic oppression and racism within institutions. A number of states have passed laws limiting discussions about it or some of its key tenets in classrooms, arguing it’s racist. 

The vast majority of people think schools should focus on traditional subjects like math, reading and science, and a majority also say critical race theory should not be taught, a new poll shows. 

According to The Center Square Voters’ Voice Poll conducted by Noble Predictive, most surveyed said they want schools to focus on core subjects instead of hot-button topics like critical race theory.

Critical race theory is a theoretical framework that explores systematic oppression and racism within institutions. A number of states have passed laws limiting discussions about it or some of its key tenets in classrooms, arguing it’s racist. 

The majority of true independents, 51%, said they were opposed to the CRT framework in K-12 education. 

“When you talk with real voters, like we did, then you learn that people are concerned with bread and butter issues,” Byner said. “People want education for students to be a core part of a school’s mission, such as reading and writing.”

Black voters reported the highest support for making critical race theory mandatory in education at 59%, followed by those ages 18-34 at 56%. Democrats at 55% were the next most likely group to signal support for teaching the theory.

While critical race theory divided voters based on demographics and politics, there was widespread support for schools focusing on traditional “hard subjects” including reading, math and science, the poll found. 

Eighty-seven percent of voters indicated that schools should focus on math, reading and science. Support spanned political affiliations with Democrats (83%), Republicans (90%) and true independents (88%) coalescing. 

Overall, only 10% of voters signaled disagreement. Of those, young people ages 18-34 (17%), Black voters (14%) and those of other races (14%) were most likely to disagree that schools should focus on the core subjects. 

Byler said the poll’s findings show what voters want from the nation’s public schools, and for most, it’s not controversial. 

“When you ask people what the critical job of a school is, they say it is to teach students the basics,” Byler said. “Voters’ top priority is that schools carry out their basic function well.”

The Center Square Voters’ Voice poll was conducted in conjunction with Noble Predictive Insights in March. The poll queried 2,510 respondents split roughly between both Democrats and Republicans along with 340 true independents. The margin of error for likely voters is +/- 2.1%.

This story first published at Chalkboard News, a site dedicated to K-12 education news across the country that’s published by the Franklin News Foundation, which also publishes The Center Square.

22 COMMENTS

  1. When I attended schools (and there were many of them as I was an Air Force brat), we learned about racism when we learned about history. It’s a part of history, which taught us what NOT to do anymore. Not one teacher ever taught that slavery was a good thing. All my teachers focused on teaching HOW to think, not WHAT to think, while history taught demonstrated what lessons we learned as a nation.

  2. The only reason children were sent to school was one thing.
    To educate them on Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, History and some Science. That is it! How we got so far away from actual education is alarming. My personal opinion is there needs to be many more older teachers than these just out of liberal college ones.
    Ones that have actual morals and ones that really believe in education. Not Critical Race theory. That is so out of bounds for any school, on all levels.
    If children can’t be sent to school to learn the simple basics, along how to deal with peers in a healthy way, them keep them home to school them or send them to a Charter School. If going to school today is nothing more than a propaganda machine let’s fix it! We can’t let the mental defectives win…. Let’s get our schools back and purge the problems not accept them.

  3. Teaching kids that many signers of the Declaration of Independence were slave owners is not CRT, it is history. Teaching kids that slaves were well fed and learned valuable skills is not history, it is systemic racism.

      • That’s because you may have been sleeping during history class. Don’t you know that slaves were bred like cattle? And as such were taken good care of because, lot of money was invested in them…. who wants a sick skinny slave to go work out in the field?

    • Oh “Frank”..

      I’m not sure what universe you went to school in, but when I did, decades ago, the fact they were slave holders wasn’t hidden.

      But then education focused on teaching, not indoctrination

    • Slaves were, generally well fed and learned valuable skills. The plantation owners used them to run their business. No business owner would neglect to keep the tools and workers making them money in good working order. Food, medical care, etc… were all used to keep the plantation owner’s investment working.
      .
      That is history. And, that is more accurate than this belief that slaves were regularly abused, beaten, murdered, etc…
      .
      And, guess what? I learned that in school. Not from some leftist blue haired tattoo’ed and pierced woman.

    • There were many irish slaves in the US as well. Why don’t the CRT people who preach ‘reparations’ talk about them? They had it very rough too. Instead those people are too busy replacing all the irish people in media.

  4. “The majority of true independents, 51%, said they were opposed to the CRT framework in K-12 education. ”

    It’s the other 49% I’m worried about.

  5. “Critical race theory is a theoretical framework that explores systematic oppression and racism within institutions.”
    That statement is incorrect. It assumes that ‘race” is the operative word in the phrase “Critical race theory.” It is not. The operative word is ‘critical.”
    .
    Critical theory/thinking is nothing more than focusing on everything that is imperfect with any system. It criticizes the system (or relationship) without acknowledging any possible positives. Critical economic theory would come to the conclusion that a free market, capitalism based economic environment is absolutely awful because everyone does not benefit equally. Curiously, it would come to the same conclusions about any other economic system.
    .
    Applied to race, CRT has no other possible outcome than to declare the entire world is racist to the extreme. That is exactly what happens when you choose to focus exclusively on any and all imperfections, unfairness, and failures, to the detriment of any benefits.
    .
    Critical anything theory has no place outside of a philosophical discussion. It does not belong in our schools, regardless of what the proponents claim. It is the opposite of teaching, and it develops no useful qualities in the students. Instead of opening the child’s mind to possibilities, it closes it down.
    .
    Parents are correct to be against it in schools.

    • “Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.”
      — Sam Rayburn

      CRT simply kicks down the barn. It doesn’t and can’t build anything of value but simply sows division and fabricates discontent. As far as exactly who is supporting and instigating the “kicking down” in Anchorage, that would be Carl Jacobs, Dora Wilson, Pat Higgins, Margo Bellamy, Kelly Lessens, and Andy Holleman. Three could be replaced if voters participate and understand what’s at stake. Tell your friends.

    • CB. Racism exists and doesn’t show itself only in a kkk rally or whatever is today’s equivalent. It appears in real estate frequently and is very well documented. Same with financial entities.

      You don’t need to be afraid of it unless you are part of a business , school church that practices covert and sometimes tiny acts of racism. Use knowledge of systemic institutionalized discrimination to an advantage for your community. Advocate for unity and fairness.

      • Wow, Valley, your reading comprehension is abysmal. Completely non-existent actually.
        .
        At no point in my comment did I say racism did not exist? In fact, the statements I made about CRT require racism to exist. If it did not, critical race theory would fall flat.
        .
        The point, for those that have pre-school reading comprehension levels, is that Critical is the operative word in CRT, not race. And, if I were to apply “critical” theory to any system known to man, I would ALWAYS come to a negative conclusion.
        .
        Unity and fairness is a nice fantasy. Too bad humans are biased and prejudiced. It starts at conception and runs through to death. Bummer, but reality sucks.
        .
        I will finish off with another point, one that CRT ignores:
        The opposite of racism is not anti-racism, it is apathy.

  6. How about getting rid of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) indoctrination, Common Core Standards (CSS)* as well as critical race thinking (CRT) and getting back to basics: Mathmetics, Reading, Science, History, and vocational education? Also, if students are shown to be not proficient in reading and math, the answer is not for the SOA Dept. of Education to lower the threshold for Alaska students to achieve better “proficiency” status in basic reading and math.

    *While it is true Alaska has not formally adopted Common Core Standards, it appears that ASD has adopted it on its own. Doesn’t appear to be working at improving student proficiency in reading and math since it was adopted in 2008. Maybe they need to admit it is not working and try something else?
    ‘https://www.asdk12.org/commoncore/

  7. We found the essay by brilliant black economist Dr. Thomas Sowell on “What you will never read or be taught in high school” concerning slavery which existed long, long before America and still exists. Dr. Sowell has many other insightful writings. Dr. Mary Grabar, “dissident professor” writes about the falsehoods and plagiarism presented in the U.S. History books by Howard Zinn, a communist, as well as the made up 1619 Project currently used for indoctrination. Dr. Grabar is an immigrant and was appalled about what content is being used in our schools at all levels. It was good to get a perspective from someone who moved here from another country. Pray for the truth to be taught. Pray for a return to Western Civilization values and the traditional family including activities centered around the church as in Colonial times. Pray for a return to our US Constitution and to Patriotism. Pass on the truth of the Greatness of America even with our mistakes.

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