Illinois Education Bureaucrats Are Out of Step with the Public

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: The results of a telephone survey of 800 Illinois residents commissioned by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni that was conducted from February 17–21 found weak support for politicizing K-12 public education and strong support for a civics education grounded in the principles of freedom of speech and free inquiry.

 A new survey commissioned by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni found that citizens in Illinois reject the politicization of public education. Conducted from February 17–21 in response to the new Illinois Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards, which call for student advocacy and major structural reforms of the political system, the survey found that 62 percent of respondents thought that teachers “should work to expose students to a variety of perspectives about the country’s founding and history” and “equip them to think critically about its successes and failures.” Only 23 percent of those surveyed favored teachers embracing “progressive viewpoints and perspectives when teaching U.S. history” and encouraging “students to advocate for social justice causes.”

Additional findings include:

  • 69 percent of respondents saw freedom of speech and debate as a cornerstone of American republicanism.
  • 64 percent of respondents said that they muzzle their own political opinions “often” or “sometimes.”
  • 54 percent of respondents said that public universities should “prioritize lowering tuition, even if it means cutting funding to diversity and inclusion programs.”  
  • 63 percent of respondents thought that college applicants should be treated equally based on merit.

Read the full report here.

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Views on Curriculum Aligned with the 1619 Project

ACTA

Findings:

  • Just 38 percent of all respondents agreed with the 1619 Project narrative that America was founded upon slavery and that the country remains systemically racist today.
  • A political split is evident: 81 percent of Republicans said K-12 students should be taught that America was the first free democratic nation in the world; but 59 percent of Democrats said students should be taught that America was founded upon slavery.
  • A majority of political Independents – 54 percent – believe that K-12 students should be taught that America was founded upon liberty and equality.