It’s an idea that reflects the real Republican plan: Education is about social control, not learning
Dixon complained that her daughter had checked out a book “about having two different homes” and how the very idea of divorce “caused an unnecessary anxiety.”
“Why was this something she was just able to pick up off the shelf?” Dixon inquired. She allowed that a kid whose parents are divorcing might find some use-value in such a book, but evidently believes all other kids should be kept blissfully unaware about this widespread social reality.
New polling from the Pew Research Center illuminates how drastically different Republican and Democratic parents feel about the purpose of education. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida may claim that Republicans oppose “indoctrination,” but the Pew data suggests the opposite is true: Republican parents are far more likely to demand that schools forgo actual education in favor of training kids to hold close-minded and blinkered views, and to censor factual information that might contradict what parents want to believe, no matter how unhinged or disconnected from reality.
The two big questions Pew used to measure authoritarian, truth-hostile attitudes in parents were about gender identity and the long-standing impacts of slavery on American society. On both, strong majorities of Republicans insisted that schools should conceal facts from students in order to impose the ideological preferences of the right. Only 9% of Republican parents agreed that students should be allowed to learn that trans people exist. A whopping 66% of Republicans disagreed that schools should teach that the legacy of slavery still affects Black people today. In addition, while a majority of parents overall believed that schools should not lead students in prayer, nearly six in 10 Republican parents supported mandatory prayer in school.
All these stances flow from the same larger authoritarian view, according to which conservative ideology should trump reality and the American ideal of equality is viewed, shall we say, as highly conditional. Much as conservatives may not like it, trans people actually exist and the persistent racial inequalities in American society are a demonstrable result of the lasting legacy of slavery. Leading children in prayer cannot help but send a message that non-Christians are less American than Christians.