On the eve of its national convention, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) released a poll designed to help their Democratic friends win the messaging war on education issues in the upcoming midterm elections.
In a memo released with the poll, the left-leaning polling firm, Hart Research Associates, said Republican “culture war attacks” had left Democrats on the defensive. To counter Republicans, the memo said, Democrats should try to frame Republicans as the culprits in politicizing education, and that Democrats should take a more positive tone about parental involvement in schools.
The poll showed a sample of voters in several key swing states – Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – trust Republicans more than Democrats by a slim margin on education issues, a shift from past elections when Democrats were seen as better on education.
Respondents to the poll said the biggest problem with public education right now is that it has gotten too political, with 81% saying politicized schools were a very or fairly big problem. Both Democrats and Republicans received blame for the shift.
The poll also showed voters are dissatisfied with the way parents have been left out of decisions on their children’s education, and with the amount of time spent teaching children about sexual and gender identity. Voters also showed a clear preference for laws banning biological males from participating in girls’ sports.
Respondents said they want schools to focus on teaching students the fundamentals of reading, math, and science, and on giving students real-life skills.