A new poll has found that two-thirds of parents say their child’s school places an “appropriate” emphasis on topics such as racism and slavery, according to Chalkbeat. However, Black parents say that they’d prefer a greater emphasis on those subjects, even as state legislators wage a war against them.
The majority of people who have fueled the fire against teaching topics about racial discrimination have been white parents. We haven’t gotten the point of view of how Black parents feel. It’s ultimately their children’s experiences and history that are the focal point of these critical race theory debates. According to the survey by Education Next, half of Black parents say these ‘controversial’ topics need more attention. Meanwhile, 64 percent of all parents say the schools are doing just fine in how they’re teaching these topics.
“That’s a large majority of parents saying their child’s school is handling this appropriately. It’s a minority that says otherwise,” said David Houston, education researcher at George Mason University, via Chalkbeat.
More on the survey from Chalkbeat:
This pattern applied across different groups of parents — school type, child’s grade level, and even partisanship. Sixty-nine percent of Republican parents said their child’s school placed an appropriate emphasis on race and racism.
Beyond issues related to race, the vast majority of parents — 86% — were at least somewhat satisfied with their child’s school more generally.
But when when it comes to addressing race and racism, there was more discontent among Black parents, 49% of whom wanted more focus on racism and slavery in their child’s school. An additional 47% said schools struck the right balance.
Notably, rates of dissatisfaction with schools’ approach to racism appear much higher among the general public than among parents. According to the Education Next poll, 35% of all Americans say local public schools don’t place enough emphasis on racism, while 27% say there is too much much emphasis. Here, there were much sharper partisan divides.
One Black parent, Tearsa Thomas, told Chalkbeat she thinks it’s important that the discussions on racism include the ways it directly affects her children as well as discussing the solution to those problems.
“As young people here in the United States, it’s one thing to learn about something from the past, but to be able to understand how it connects to their present is important. It’s part of the school’s responsibility,” she said.
My parents had a similar outlook. They knew one of the costs of sending me to predominantly white schools was me missing out on proper Black history. However, they took initiative themselves to teach me what it means to be Black in America when I returned from the classroom.