In a recent House Oversight Subcommittee hearing, Rep. Summer Lee (PA-12) claimed that parents who express concerns about culture wars in public schools are a small minority in the K-12 sphere. She said: 

“Republicans claim it’s about parents’ rights to be involved in their children’s classes. This National NPR poll found that, by wide margins and regardless of their politics, 76% of parents were happy with their kid’s schools and what they’re taught. Just 18% of parents weren’t happy with the way gender and sexuality was taught. And 19% say the same about race and racism and 14% feel that way about US history. These numbers show what’s really happening.”

Mostly false or misleading. Significant errors or omissions. Mostly make believe.

Unfortunately, Rep. Lee’s statistics do not “show what is really happening.” It is easy to claim parents’ satisfaction with their child’s education when bureaucrats and powerful teachers unions spin the narrative, hiding pervasive and destructive educational failures. Rep. Lee conveniently omits discussion on the abysmal academic performance of schools nationwide; classrooms that promote gender ideology and create divisive racial environments; continued learning loss and chronic absenteeism after the pandemic; and disturbing violence in schools. 

Rep. Lee’s numbers do not accurately represent parents’ widespread discontent and frustrations with public education today. Here is what Rep. Lee fails to mention: the 2022 NPR polling data she cited also reveals that only 27% of parents “believe [their] child’s school teaches [sexuality and gender identity] in a way that is consistent with [their] values.” Likewise, only 38% of parents believed that their child’s school taught about race and racism in a way that aligned with their values. It is easy to change the narrative and gaslight parents by cherry-picking data points.

A recent 2024 Pew Research poll found that 50% of all K-12 teachers do not believe students should learn about gender identity in school. 48% of all K-12 teachers and 54% of all adults believe parents should be able to opt their children out of sexual orientation or gender identity lessons. The data that Rep. Lee cited exposed the fact that 35% of parents “don’t know” if their school’s instruction about sexuality and gender orientation aligns with their values. Unfortunately, the National Education Association and other teachers unions counsel schools to hide gender transitions and gender ideology from parents. This directly conflicts with the will of parents and the public: 75% of voters in 2023 supported requiring schools to get parental consent before helping a student change their gender identity, according to a 2023 CRC Research poll. 

Another 2022 poll by the New York Times found that 58% of Americans strongly oppose, and 12% somewhat oppose, school teachers providing classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity to children in elementary school. 

Regarding race, Parents Defending Education found that 70% of respondents said that it is not important that schools “teach students that their race is the most important thing about them.” Additionally, an overwhelming majority of respondents “opposed teaching students that white people are inherently privileged and black and other people of color are inherently oppressed.” Bureaucrats and teachers unions sneak critical race theory into schools under the guise of “diversity,” ethnic studies, and “history.” Most parents, and the general American population, understand that critical race theory drastically accentuates racial divides and seeks to rewrite history. 

Furthermore, Republicans are not the only ones who want to be involved in their children’s classes. In 2022, the Goldwater Institute found that “an overwhelming majority of American voters—84 percent—agree that parents should be able to see the curriculum plans and materials for their children’s classes.” Fostering transparency and a strong relationship between parents, teachers, and schools is essential, especially following a pandemic that set students back academically and emotionally. Not only do parents desire to be involved, but studies consistently demonstrate a significant correlation between parental involvement and academic achievement. It is a parent’s right and duty to be involved in their child’s education.

It appears that Rep. Lee found the one poll that claims that the majority of parents are satisfied with their child’s education and the general state of K-12 education. Parents don’t want schools and teachers unions pushing ideology onto students at alarming rates, especially without parental knowledge or consent.