The second-largest teachers union in the United States is irritated they are losing the culture war, which is why they twisted recent polling that shows parents trust Republicans more on education and want them in leadership.
A poll commissioned by the American Federation of Teachers shows that a plurality of voters in swing states such as Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin plan to vote for Republican senators (46 percent) and governors (46 percent) in the upcoming midterms. At least 47 percent said they would prefer a Republican-controlled Congress.
Democrat pollsters at Hart Research tried to downplay this fact in their poll memo, which directed the AFT to blame Republicans for politicizing education. According to the pollsters, Republicans don’t have a leg up because the GOP holds the trust of the public on education by only 1 percentage point (39 percent versus 38 percent), but given that Democrats have historically held great advantages over education issues, the poll reveals not so much a tie as a massive Republican comeback.
AFT President Randi Weingarten used the pollsters’ minimization as the basis for her speech at the union’s 87th biennial convention, which was headlined by First Lady Jill Biden.
“Too many politicians … stoke grievances rather than solve problems. They should be helping us help our kids and our communities, not making it harder with their culture wars and division,” Weingarten said.
Despite her long history of lobbying to keep schools shuttered during the pandemic and her promotion of critical race theory, Weingarten parroted Hart Research’s language, insisting, “Instead of banning books and censoring curriculums, Democrats are focused on investing in our schools.”
“The AFT is also urging parents and teachers to take action — by voting against politicians who are focused on things like book banning, culture wars, and injecting division into our classrooms, rather than investing in mental health resources, literacy programs, and efforts to reduce class sizes,” Weingarten said.
Corporate media also tried to spin the poll as a victory for teachers unions who want Democrats “to fight back against Republicans’ critical race theory attacks.”
“Armed with new polling, one union president is launching a campaign to convince voters that Republicans are wrong on cultural issues,” one NBC News article claimed.
MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin added that the poll is an opportunity for Democrats to “stop hiding and start fighting Republicans on hot-button education issues like battles over teaching racial issues in school.”
The pollsters’ assertion that “neither party enjoys a clear advantage on the issue of education today,” however, ignores the rest of the survey’s results, which suggest voters in swing states favor Republicans on key education issues.
For example, 67 percent of respondees said schools should be “making sure students have strong fundamental skills in reading, math, and science.” Fifty-five percent said they should be “teaching practical life skills, like how to balance a checkbook and deal with money.” Another 47 percent said that “developing students’ critical thinking and reasoning skills” is a top priority.
On their face, these might seem like normal things for voters to want in schools. But with the increasing left-wing push to drop these kinds of requirements in the name of equity, poll results like these show parents want schools to stick to traditional education instead of investing time in inculcating an ideology.
Only 24 percent of respondents said “preparing students to be comfortable and successful in diverse settings and workplaces” fit into the top four most important things they think schools should be teaching.
Even the pollsters’ memo — which is largely focused on promoting “strong, confident Democratic communication on educating our kids and getting politics out of schools” and attacking Republican states that have taken action on radical ideology in classrooms — admits that Republicans are winning voters over with the culture war: “…some Republican culture war attacks on schools have concerned voters.”
Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire and Fox News. Jordan graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordanboydtx.