Most Americans Believe Politics Should Be Banned From Classrooms

Striking a blow for common sense, a majority of Americans believe teachers should stick to teaching the curriculum and avoid talking about politics in the classroom.

That’s the clear result of a new Grinnell College National Poll released Wednesday. The survey, conducted between March 14-19, found that a solid 57% of U.S. adults consider it inappropriate for public school teachers to expound on their political views to captive student audiences.

The number for parents of public school students is higher. Of the respondents, 58% disagreed with the practice of teachers indoctrinating students with their political philosophy.

Only 41% deemed political discussions as acceptable.

This conclusion runs counter to most Americans’ beliefs about a wide variety of public figures. Out of seven national groups who could express their political opinions, six were agreed to be appropriate.

Those groups included lawful protesters, legislators, public school students in the classroom, professional athletes, college professors, and clergy. All of these are believed to be justified in expressing their political beliefs.

But not public school teachers in the classroom.

On the high end of those opposed to preaching political messages in the classroom are Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (68%), suburban women (65%), households with incomes above $100K (63%), and Catholics (64%).

President of polling firm Selzer & Company J. Ann Selzer noted that public school issues are a strong area of alignment between suburban women and Republicans.

Selzer further observed that these suburban voters may well decide the 2024 presidential election, as they are credited with largely doing in 2016 and 2020.

Respondents were also asked about the increasing debate over inappropriate materials in public school libraries. The responses showed that most Americans have little appetite for elected officials making decisions over these materials.

It is quite different when it comes to local influences. A majority agreed that families, students, and school librarians should have significant input.

A strong plurality of Americans believe that so-called “changes in gender identity” should result in parental notification. A full 66% agreed it is “very important” or “somewhat important,” while only 31% answered that it was “not important.”

As for Democrats, only 25% believe that notifying parents of a gender identity switch is “very important.”