There are a multitude of polls showing that voters care about education as much as, if not more than, issues like the economy, healthcare, and crime. But, as much as education has been diversifying and generating new methods of instructing children, it has also become one of the fastest-growing political issues of the modern era.
According to a recent Morning Consult poll, the issue of education has become a pretty big priority across the entire country, and while some of the sub-topics of discussion (re-opening schools, the pros and cons of charter schools, etc.) are up for debate, what’s not up for debate is that virtually all Americans believe that their children’s academic futures need to be in the right hands.
That could end up being good for Democrats, who are generally popular with teachers, but as the party caters more and more to the teachers’ unions rather than the needs of students, as is the case in California, there is the potential for Democrats to lose some other key supporters and, more importantly, for Republicans to pick them up.
There is a racial divide among Democrats on the issue of charter schools, as most white Democrats oppose charter schools while black and Hispanic Democrats are supportive of them. This divide can really be understood when you consider the state of schools where many minority students feel “trapped,” unable to escape situations that are not conducive to the type of educational and social advancement many parents are trying to help their children achieve.
School choice, charter schools, vouchers, and other programs are meant to actually increase racial integration and provide equal opportunities for all students, but a majority of white Democrats are very willing to put #blm in social media posts while opposing efforts for underserved black children to get into their own kids’ schools. That lack of fairness is one of the biggest causes of strife in the education reform movement, and it will inevitably cause a major rift in the Democratic Party’s base.
A party that caters to those unions, who care about increased pay and relaxed achievement requirements and have significantly less regard for student success than the individual teachers do, cannot hope to appeal to a growing number of parents who are rightly more concerned that their kids are receiving a decent education. It has become increasingly obvious over the last decade or so that many within the Democratic Party see the schools themselves as more important in the development of children than their own parents, with attempts to increase student dependence on teachers rather than the parents for help.
That’s exactly where the Republican Party can swoop in and make an appeal to black and Hispanic voters. If the goal is to provide for the students and give them opportunities without taking away the fundamental importance of the family, then you will see more of those voters warming up to the Republican Party.
It’s an excellent starting point for Republicans, and a lot of the polls coming out about education should be warning signs for Democrats.