WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 21, 2022)—The state of American education is a growing concern for voting parents this year, and that offers a potential edge to candidates hoping to appeal across partisan lines in November.
— New polling released today by a top national charter school booster says education is now a more important political issue to parents and guardians of school-age children than it was in the past.
— In all, 83 percent of voting parents said education is more important to them. The trend was especially apparent among Black parents and parents of children with special needs, according to the national survey of roughly 5,000 parents conducted May 19–31 by The Harris Poll on behalf of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
— Voters’ education concerns traditionally take a backseat to economic and healthcare-related issues, particularly in federal races, even as school-centered worries grow in importance. Yet the latest poll also hints that voting parents have a significant interest in casting ballots for someone outside their own political party, as long as they agree with that candidate’s education platform. The pollster concluded parent willingness to vote for someone outside their party was high for all political affiliations but particularly strong among independent voters.
— Consider the timing of those opinions. As the United States commemorates slavery’s end inside its borders and estimates point to growing numbers of youth who identify as transgender, potent fights over race and sexuality continue to help animate campaigns in key states. But some Democrats say cultural concerns distract from what persuadable, education-motivated voters really want. Former President Donald Trump’s education secretary is meanwhile urging conservatives to promote school choice as part of their message.
— Looking ahead: The charter group said its poll suggests education could become a “single voter issue” among parents regardless of their party affiliation and underscores the budding significance of school-related concerns in this fall’s elections. Politicians might therefore have an incentive to broadcast a message that resonates with a broader spectrum of voters instead of just rallying their base.
— “The education voter is the new swing voter,” said Nina Rees, the charter alliance’s president and CEO.
Education Growing Concern Could Spell Trouble For The Democratic Party
In May 2022, Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the FBI and U.S. Attorneys to intervene—without spelling out the federal authority or hard evidence for what the AG called a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence,” wrote WSJ.
AG Garland said in a letter to the FBI “I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum. These meetings will facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.”
According to a WSJ article “The Federal Bureau of Investigation set up a process to track threats against school-board members and teachers, moving to implement a Justice Department directive that some law-enforcement officials and Republican lawmakers say could improperly target parents protesting local education policies.”
“The heads of the FBI’s criminal and counterterrorism divisions instructed agents in an Oct. 20 memo to flag all assessments and investigations into potentially criminal threats, harassment and intimidation of educators with a “threat tag,” which the officials said would allow them to evaluate the scope of the problem.”
The internal email asks FBI agents to consider the motivation behind any criminal activity and whether it potentially violates federal law. Agents should tag such threats “EDUOFFICIALS” to better track them, according to the memo, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
“The purpose of the threat tag is to help scope this threat on a national level, and provide an opportunity for comprehensive analysis of the threat picture for effective engagement with law enforcement partners at all levels,” says the email signed by Timothy Langan, the FBI’s assistant director for counterterrorism, and Calvin Shivers, the assistant director of the bureau’s criminal division, who retired this month.”
Parents Critical Race Theory Concerns
Parents accuse school board of trying to indoctrinate students with controversial ‘Critical Race Theory,
Source: Politico and Wall Street Journal contributed to the article.