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Southern Poverty Law Center survey finds a majority of Floridians support public education

Four out of five Floridians say they support public education in the state.
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Four out of five Floridians say they support public education in the state.

More than 1,000 Florida residents were surveyed about their beliefs about public education, public school funding, and who should call the shots in the state’s public schools.

In a survey of more than a 1,000 Florida residents, the Southern Poverty Law Center found Floridians overwhelmingly support public education.

Four out of five of Floridians surveyed said they support public education in Florida and think it’s a right.

But Jonathan Weber, the Florida policy director for the Southern Poverty Law Center said the most striking statistic is this one: that 92% of Florida parents say educational experts alone should be charged with writing curriculum.

“This means that actual teachers and educational policy experts, not Tallahassee politicians, with in many instances, zero classroom experience, zero academic experience in education policy, and zero interest in addressing the actual challenges facing students, teachers and parents across the state," said Weber.

Weber said this is in direct opposition to new laws that try to dictate what and how students learn, and what they read.

“All of the most controversial laws passed by the Florida legislature over the past few years related to education, policy and funding have all come with extreme opposition from educators and students and parents, which, according to this research, is the opposite of what Florida residents want and expect from their lawmakers," said Weber.

Supporters of policies that have made it easier to challenge books, and ban LGBTQ themes in schools, say they’re protecting children.

Here's the study's findings:

  • 4 out of 5 Floridians say public education is a right
  • 92% of Florida parents and 90% of the general adult population want public school curricula created by education professionals
  • 87% of Florida parents and 85% of the general adult population support increasing funding to public schools
  • 43% of Florida parents and 53% of the general adult population say they do not know whether Florida charter and private schools have to offer the same accommodations to students with different learning needs compared with public schools
  • 37% of Florida parents and 42% of the general adult population ranked young people being unprepared after graduation as their major concern about public education, followed by restrictions on what can be taught in Florida schools

Read the full survey here.

Watch the full press conference explaining the SPLC's findings:

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Danielle Prieur