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Most Americans support teachers' unions despite attacks from Republicans

A new poll shows a majority of Americans view teachers’ unions favorably.

By Will Fritz - September 05, 2023
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Members of the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 and their supporters march through the Loop after a rally, three days before the unions could walk off the job on strike, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Chicago.
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Local 73 and their supporters march through the Loop after a rally, three days before the unions could walk off the job on strike, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Chicago. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

New polling data shows most Americans have favorable views toward teachers’ unions.

According to a survey of 1,000 registered voters released by Navigator Research on Aug. 30, U.S. voters back teachers’ unions by a 30% margin, with 55% indicating support for the unions and just 25% indicating negative attitudes toward them.

The only group the poll showed to view teachers’ unions negatively was Republicans who identify as being “very conservative,” with only 22% of that group supporting the unions, compared to 62% who said they view them unfavorably.

Meanwhile, the polling data showed 45% of both independent voters and Republicans who do not identify as being “very conservative” as having favorable views toward teachers’ unions, with 34% and 23% indicating unfavorable views, respectively. Some 74% of Democrats back teachers’ unions, with just 9% viewing them negatively.

The survey, which covered voters’ priorities toward education, was conducted online between Aug. 17 and Aug. 21.

Republican political candidates continue to staunchly oppose teachers’ unions.

On the Republican presidential primary debate stage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Aug. 23, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott called for an end to unions’ influence.

“The only way we change education in this nation is to break the backs of the teachers’ unions,” Scott said. “They are standing in the doorhouse of our kids, locking them in failing schools, and locking them out of the greatest future they can have.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also called teachers’ unions “the biggest threat to our country.”

Republican presidential candidates aren’t the only ones still taking shots at teachers’ unions.

Dave McCormick, who’s running to be the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat for Pennsylvania currently held by Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. said in March that he would like to “break the back of our teachers’ unions.” In those remarks, McCormick also accused teachers of introducing “sexualization” in elementary schools.

The Navigator Research poll also shows voters are more concerned about gun violence in schools and getting kids the education they need to be successful than they are about accusations that teachers are instructing students on gender and sexuality.

More than half of voters surveyed, or 58%, said keeping kids “safe from gun violence and mass shootings in schools and other public places” is an issue to focus on, compared to 28% who expressed concern about students “being exposed to woke ideas about race and gender in school.”.

Another recent poll released by the National Education Association similarly showed that voters are much more worried about school shootings and teacher pay than they are about social justice issues being taught in schools.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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