New Hampshire residents overwhelmingly believe that parents — not school administrators — should have the final say when it comes to health and educational choices that affect their children, according to a poll released by NHjournal.com.
82 percent of respondents said parents ought to have the right to review curriculum, while 59 percent said parents should have the “final say” in the classroom — not teachers.
The poll was conducted by Co/efficient in partnership with NH Journal using mobile and landline telephones. The sample included 1,058 general election voters and equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats, and unregistered voters.
Self-identified liberals and registered Democrats were more likely to support teachers’ control over classroom content, but even most left-wing respondents said decisions about children’s health care should be left with parents.
Large bipartisan majorities also supported the right of parents to review the curricula being taught in K-12 schools.
78 percent of respondents said parents should know if a school is making decisions about their child related to gender transitions.
Most New Hampshire residents who answered the survey also said they would support a proposal to allow district residents to vote on the removal of public school principals and superintendents.
Overall, the polls shows that New Hampshire voters are fiercely supportive of parents rights in education and methods that would allow for more parental control over education.
In neighboring Maine, similar issues are up for debate in the State House and every school district, with school board policies and several bills up for consideration that would impact the balance of power between parents and schools.
One of the most visible fronts of the confrontation has been hyper-sexualized books in school libraries and classrooms. Parents across the state have expressed outrage over school employees promoting pornographic books, including one book that includes cartoon images of children having sex.
Several school boards have passed, or attempted to pass, policies that would allow — or even require — school employees to keep information about students’ health and well-being secret from parents.
Those policies are not merely academic exercises either.
In Damariscotta’s Great Salt Bay Middle School, such a policy allowed a conditionally licensed 26-year-old social worker to counsel a 13-year-old girl on a gender transition without her mother’s knowledge or consent.