Survey: 63% of Americans Believe Parents Have ‘Final Say’ in Public Education

Brilliant Schoolboy Listens Attentively to His Teacher Explaning the Lesson. In Elementary
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A supermajority of Americans surveyed say parents are the primary educators of their children and should have the “final say” in the content of what their children are taught in public schools.

A survey conducted by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty this week revealed 63 percent of respondents believe “parents should have the final say … and should be able to opt out of morally objectionable or inappropriate content,” while 37 percent say, “public schools should have the final say” with no “opt out” for parents.

“Majorities of Democrat, Independent, and Republican respondents all sided with this opinion, though to varying degrees,” the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty noted, adding:

Among Democrats, a slight majority, 52 percent, sided with this opinion, compared with 64 percent of Independents and 74 percent of Republicans. Whether respondents had children in the home or not had little impact on opinion—66 percent of those who had children in the home sided with this opinion compared to 61 percent of those without children.

The question was part of the Becket Fund’s third annual Religious Freedom Index, which is, according to Becket, a “holistic view of changes in American attitudes on religious liberty,” based on responses from 1,000 Americans to questions that cover a wide array of religious liberty protections under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Survey participants’ responses to 21 questions are used to compile a “Religious Freedom Index,” a measure of support for religious liberty in the United States.

In 2019, the Religious Freedom Index was 67. The index dropped to 66 last year, and, this year, reached 68.

The results of the education survey question come weeks after a Washington Post poll found education was the top issue for Virginia voters in the governor’s race, one that ultimately handed Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) a victory over former Democrat Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe.

Youngkin repeatedly listened to the concerns of Virginia parents regarding the teaching of tenets of Critical Race Theory, LGBTQ activist curricula, and mandates related to COVID-19, asserting, “I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.”

McAuliffe, however, clearly stated, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”


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