The majority of likely voters in Maine want Maine’s public schools to focus more on math, reading, and writing than on gender, sexuality, and race.
That’s the topline takeaway of a Maine Wire public opinion survey conducted this week of nearly 2,000 Maine likely general election voters in partnership with Co/Efficient, a leading research and analytics firm.
77 percent of Maine voters said schools should be focused on the basics, like math, reading, and writing, rather than spending time on how gender, sexuality, and race impact the lives of everyday Americans.
Just 16 percent of respondents said students should spend more time learning about gender, sexuality, and race, while 8 percent were unsure.
Those poll results show that recent trends in Maine schools since Gov. Janet Mills and Education Commissioner Pender Makin arrived on the job conflict sharply with what more than three out of four Maine voters actually want from their schools.
In recent years, Maine parents have seen schools focus increasingly on gender-related programming and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. This has included a rise in the number of hyper-sexualized books in schools, as well as the adoption of curriculum content inspired by left-wing theories about gender and race.
At the same time, Maine’s students’ standardized test scores have fallen.
Nonetheless, there remains a sharp ideological and partisan divide over whether schools should continue to focus on left-wing priorities at the expense of traditional schooling.
While 95 percent of self-identified conservatives and 74 percent of moderates said schools should get back to the basics, 51 percent of self-identified liberals said schools should focus more on gender and race.
Although liberals may seem to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to the education policies the Democratic Party supports, most Democrats disagree with the liberal minority when it comes to educational priorities.
91 percent of Republicans in the survey and 62 percent of Democrats supported a renewed focus on reading, writing, and math, as did 82 percent of unaffiliated voters.
Republicans, conservatives, moderates, moderate Democrats, and independent voters are all in agreement that Maine’s schools would benefit from a renewed commitment to traditional grade school subject matter.
In Augusta, a host of bills introduced by Republican lawmakers would impact how Maine’s schools handle these controversial topics, and this survey information is likely to embolden conservatives and moderates as they pursue reforms aimed at securing parental rights and school transparency. But whether those reforms can succeed in the face of opposition from the powerful liberal contingent of Democratic lawmakers is another question.
These results come from an exclusive Maine Wire poll conducted of Maine general election voters in partnership with Co/Efficient, a research and analytics company that has worked on national campaigns, as well as state and congressional campaigns across the country.
The Maine Wire / Co/Efficient poll was conducted from Feb. 28 to March 1 and included 1,982 likely general election voters. The survey methodology used mobile text-based responses and landline interviews. Results were weighted according to age, gender, education level, and party registration. The poll carries a margin of error of +/- 3.09%.
In the coming days, the Maine Wire will be releasing more insights from the poll.
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