Teachers Union Poll Finds Swing-State Americans Trust Republicans More Than Dems On Education

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Chrissy Clark Contributor
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A survey conducted in seven battleground states found that more voters trust Republicans than Democrats on issues related to education, according to poll results obtained exclusively by NBC News.

The American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second-largest teachers union, solicited polling from Hart Research in seven battleground states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Pollsters found that 39% of respondents trust Republicans more on education than Democrats.

Democratic pollsters told NBC News that voters want kids taught the good and the bad of race relations and don’t want kids taught about gender identity and sexuality. The poll was conducted via interview with 1,758 likely voters across the seven battleground states between May 21-30.

The same polling data found that 47% of voters said they are in favor of a Republican-controlled Congress, compared to just 41% who said they favor a Democratic-controlled Congress.

A majority of respondents said that education is an important issue to them, though less important than “several other issues.” According to the poll, 46% of respondents said education is “very important, but several other issues are more important.”

The poll also asked respondents what they believe the most important aspect of public schooling to be. Top issues include “making sure students have strong fundamental skills in reading, math, and science,” and “teaching practical life skills, like how to balance a checkbook and deal with money.”

Ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, are “having students understand America’s history, both the good and the bad” and “developing students’ social and emotional skills like self-control and awareness of others.”

Over a sustained three-year period, school districts nationwide put an emphasis on “social-emotional learning,” which teaches students about social skills and emphasizes self-identity and gender identity. Hart Research’s polling coincides with countless examples of parents — even parents who are registered Democrats — rebuking social-emotional learning in favor of the traditional emphasis on math, reading and writing.

Virginia, which served as a battleground for education policy issues in electoral politics in the 2020 gubernatorial race, reported that students are failing to hit basic proficiency standards as the state saw a “rhetorical emphasis on equity.” (RELATED: Virginia’s Education Department Finds Public Schools Failed Minority Students Amid Equity Emphasis)

The state’s Education Department found that education gaps exist in all aspects of K-12 learning and only 33% of Virginia eighth graders and 38% of fourth graders are proficient in reading as of 2019. These levels dropped before the COVID-19 pandemic moved schools online and before the reignition of the Black Lives Matter movement made its way into schools.