Democrats Out of Touch on Education, Polls Show

Less than a month until the midterm elections, Republican consultants are telling their candidates to make education one of their top issues.

“If I’m consulting several top races, heck yeah, I’m telling my clients to campaign on education,” media analyst Jamie Miller told Florida Daily.

Miller said that Florida’s August primary, where several candidates defeated rivals backed by unions, should have told Democrats that the “handwriting is on the wall.”

Miller also attributed these wins to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis endorsed 30 school board candidates and 25 won or advanced to the runoff election in November, even in areas where Democrats outnumber Republicans.

University of Central Florida (UCF) Prof. James Clark said he was surprised that many of the school board candidates the governor endorsed won.

“Many of them ran against established one-and-two-term incumbents and won,” Clark said.

Over the last few months, recent government data and polls show the public is reading for change in the schools.

Over the summer, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released data showing American students’ math and reading scores fell to 30-year lows, among almost all demographics, during the pandemic.

The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) noted that average scores for 9-years-old students in 2022 dropped 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics since 2020, the largest average score decline in reading since 1990.

Former U.S. Education Sec. Bill Bennett said these reverses were unimaginable before the pandemic.

“The schools should have never shut down,” Bennet said. “The local districts and the teachers union were told this would have a devastating effect on children, they ignored it and now we are seeing the results.”

In September, a Gallup survey found that most Americans were unhappy with the current education system.

Only 42 percent say they were completely or somewhat satisfied with K-12 education in the United States. These numbers have dropped compared to 2019, when a slight majority–51 percent–said they were satisfied with it.

There was a partisan divide in the September poll, with 30 percent of Republicans satisfied with K-12 schools while a slight majority of Democrats–51 percent–were satisfied with the schools.

Democrats continue to argue that scores have dropped due to a lack of funds.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who won the Democratic primary to challenge DeSantis, accused the governor of not spending enough money on education. Crist’s running mate Karla Hernandez, a former teacher, attacked DeSantis for “defunding education.”

According to the Gallup survey, most Democrats think one of the big problems with public education is a lack of funds.

But the poll also showed that most voters didn’t agree with that take, with only 23 percent of those surveyed said there was a lack of resources and just 6 percent mentioning a lack of funds as a problem for schools.

The main problems that most voters had with public education were with curriculum and educational standards, with 65 percent pointing to those areas as their top concerns.

“The polling is right in front of their eyes,” Miller said about the Democrats. “School curriculums, mask mandates, school closures, leaving parents in the dark, the gender identity issue. Democrats are in total denial. I’m not sure Republican wins on local school boards are going to change the view of some school districts and the view of the teachers union on what parents really want.”

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