Parents trust Democrats over Republicans when it comes to K-12 education, according to a new poll commissioned by the National Parents Union (NPU).
The poll, released ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union address, found that 46 percent of surveyed parents trust Democrats to lead primary education policy, while 38 favor Republicans and 16 percent are undecided.
Education policy has become a hot campaign issue that’s influenced major races, including Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial contest, where Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin capitalized on school choice concerns on his way to victory.
Still, the online poll conducted by Echelon Insights found that K-12 parents’ top concern is the economy, followed by crime and public safety, education, and immigration.
“Damn right we’re worried about this country and what lies ahead for our children,” said National Parents Union President Keri Rodrigues.
“The average American family is getting squeezed, we’re watching a mental health crisis unfold before our eyes, and significant barriers to a high-quality education, especially for underserved communities, remain in place. Parent voters have run out of patience for politicians that allow poisonous politics to interfere with delivering on their promise of solutions,” added Rodrigues.
Those concerns match up with parents’ concerns about children born between 2010 and 2020 — 49 percent of parents polled said Gen A kids will have a harder time getting ahead financially, compared to their parents’ generations.
Still, 41 percent of parents said they were somewhat or very confident their children would ultimately find jobs to ensure financial security, while 22 percent said they were not confident.
And while a majority of parents said the K-12 public education system does its job — 68 percent agreed it teaches basic academic skills, and 57 percent said it prepares children for the future — a broad majority of parents want to see reform.
According to the poll, 73 percent of parents want to see major changes or a complete overhaul of the education system, while only 26 percent want to see no changes or minor tweaks.
Similar broad majorities showed up in questions about how much the government should support students and families with children in the educational system.
A whopping 84 percent of parents support free lunch for all K-12 students, while only 13 percent oppose it. Seventy-nine percent support direct funding for additional mental health care for students, 78 percent support public funding for recent high school graduates to take college courses, 77 percent support public funding for extra tutoring and 74 percent support monthly checks for families with children through the child tax credit.
And a broad majority — 75 percent — supports allowing parents to sue the government if they believe their child’s right to a quality education is being infringed.
The poll also found 80 percent-plus majorities of parents in support of measures that would make health care cheaper and prices more transparent.
The online poll was conducted on Jan. 24 and Jan. 25 among 1,025 self-identified registered voters nationwide, weighing for gender, age, race and ethnicity, education and region based on U.S. Census Bureau statistics.
Since the poll is weighted for those factors, it does not have an official margin of error. According to the pollsters, a similar poll based on a random sample would have a margin of sampling error of 3.4 percentage points.