In recent months, a crisis has been brewing in public education. Parents, teachers, school boards, and local government officials have faced off in a debate over what students should learn about race, gender, and sexuality in U.S. history. To understand where Americans stand on the issue of who should be in charge, YouGov asked 19,751 U.S. adults for their opinion on who should have the most authority over what K-12 schools teach about U.S. history: parents, teachers, local school districts, or the state or federal government?
One in four Americans say that parents should have the final say over what is taught in American history class, while 18% say teachers, 17% say local school districts, and 18% say the state (8%) or federal government (10%). Another 18% aren’t sure who should be in charge.
Opinions vary across demographic groups. Men are 10 percentage points more likely than women to say parents should have the most authority over what is taught. White Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans all are most likely to say that authority should lie mostly with parents. Black Americans are most likely to say it should lie with teachers or school districts, and Asian Americans are most likely to say it should lie with teachers or the government.
Only one in 10 Democrats say parents should have the most authority over what is taught in K-12 U.S. history class, compared to 49% of Republicans and 27% of Independents. Democrats are divided over who should be in charge: 19% say local school districts, 16% say teachers, and 15% say the state or local government. Americans age 55 and over are twice as likely as adults under 25 to say parents should have the most authority. Younger Americans are significantly more likely than others to say that the state or local government as well as teachers should have the final say.
See the crosstabs from this YouGov Poll
Methodology: This Daily Agenda survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 19,751 U.S. adults interviewed online on January 28-31, 2022. The samples were weighted to be representative of the U.S. population, based on gender, age, race, education, U.S. census region, and political party.