New Poll Shows Parents Overwhelmingly Agree: Stop Politicizing Civic Education, Prioritize Founding Documents and Ideas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHILADELPHIA, PA, December 8, 2022 – A new, nationwide poll commissioned by the Jack Miller Center revealed that an overwhelming majority of American parents believe civic education ought to focus on the country’s history and founding ideas.
The poll—conducted by RealClear Opinion Research in partnership with the Trafalgar Group surveyed over 1,000 parents of K-12 students across the country. The survey’s most surprising finding: consensus.
Among those surveyed, 89% agree that a civic education about our nation’s founding principles is “very important.” Over 92% of parents believe that the achievements of key historical figures should be taught even if their views do not align with modern values—cutting against the narrative that America is firmly divided on how to teach students about the founders and the country’s history.
“We commissioned this poll to understand what parents of differing races, backgrounds, and political affiliations want their children to be learning about their country,” says Jack Miller Center president, Hans Zeiger. “We see that for all that divides us, we have so much in common when it comes to the essentials of American civic education.”
At a time when “cancel culture” and “book banning” have dominated headlines, over 70% of surveyed parents agree that K-12 civic education should prioritize “teaching the principles underlying American politics, such as the history and ideas behind the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.”
While parents overwhelmingly agree on what their children should learn, they also agree that the education their child is receiving is not meeting expectations.
In fact, 71% of parents believe that their child is not receiving an honest picture of American history in their education, with an additional 16% expressing uncertainty. And only 31% believe their children are free to express their ideas at school.
For many of these parents, politics is to blame. In fact, over 61% of parents believe that their child’s school is promoting either a conservative (13.7%) or liberal (47.6%) political agenda.
“The real message here is unity, both on the problems in civic education and the solutions,” says Zeiger. “This survey is an encouraging sign from parents that we’re ready to move away from partisan politics in education and focus on the fundamental ideas of what it means to be an American.”
Among other major findings:
– 63.7% of parents believe their children feel positive emotions of pride (46.9%) or gratitude (16.8%) toward the American flag.
– 73.1% of parents believe it is very important that students are taught about America’s founding ideas, such as individual liberty, limited government, and belief in equality
– Most parents believe that civic education is needed before high school, with 53.1% believing it’s needed before and during high school and 32.2% believing a greater emphasis is needed on civic education before high school.
The emphasis on founding documents is expressed by parents from all ethnic backgrounds. Among those surveyed, 89.4% of Black parents and 84.7% of Hispanic parents agree that it is “very important” for their child to have a “basic understanding of the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the responsibilities of citizenship before they graduate high school.
Contact: Qurisha Hendrickson
About the Jack Miller Center
The Jack Miller Center is a nationwide network of political scholars, historians, and civics teachers committed to educating the next generation about the foundational texts and ideas of the American political tradition. We are a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization and receive no public funds.
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