Teachers Unions hold great sway over the education system. Their sway can make quite a difference in elections and how schools operate. It was recently suggested that the Chicago Teachers Union be defunded after leaked political bias was not only displayed but celebrated in a closed Facebook group. How much longer these powerful unions can survive in the changing political climate is unknown, but a recent poll has revealed that the majority of parents are prepared to switch their political affiliation over educational practices and viewpoints controlling classrooms.
A Harris Poll was commissioned by the National Alliance For Public Charter Schools and confirmed that a whopping 82% of voters are willing to vote outside of their preferred political party in order to protect their views on education. In addition, 83% of parents admitted that education is a more pressing political issue than it was to them in previous years, and 84% agreed that whether they wished to utilize charter schools or not, they should be available for anyone who wishes to enroll their children. Parents are currently happier with charter school performance than standard public school performance rates, and so these opinions may reflect what election outcomes will look like in the fall.
Many parents are looking forward to voting to oust politicians who oppose school choice, promote identity politics, and wish to expand Critical Race Theory (CRT) or Culturally Responsive Training in schools. While a minority of individuals applaud efforts to introduce race-based admissions, grading practices, and disciplinary actions, parents have continuously clashed with school boards and voiced their opposition to identity politics and the sexualization of minors being taught in class. Success rates have plummeted as the Department of Education focuses more on what students look like than what they are learning and how they apply it.
This has contributed to a mass exodus from the public school system. Both teachers and students are leaving in droves. Schools are struggling to retain accreditation as they cannot fill vacant positions, and families are seeking alternative learning opportunities like homeschooling, microschools, and private education, but parents are still funding public schools with their tax dollars, and many do not wish to fully abandon the system altogether.
Looking ahead to the 2022-2023 school year, current trends are likely to continue. The rate of homeschooling parents has grown each year and public school enrollment continues to decline. If politicians and school officials truly wish to serve the people who fund them, they need to take note. After two years of denying parents their rights and even arresting them for voicing opposition at school board meetings, elected officials are realizing that they cannot clash with communities indefinitely.
Education viewpoints have not been so politically charged in the past. Due to the changing nature of the education system and the insertion of politics into classroom practices, this has drastically changed to the point that parents are willing to vote across party lines in order to ensure that their voices are heard. This new poll is offering school officials and lawmakers the opportunity to better connect with families, but whether or not they acknowledge it is another story.