- 76% believe current impacts of racism should be included in curricula
- 81% of Americans think historical impacts of racism should be taught
- 86% say Black Americans’ contributions to society should be taught
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Amid discussions across the U.S. about the inclusion of race and racism in K-12 curricula, broad majorities of Americans think the current impacts of racism and race-related history topics should be taught in U.S. schools.
Recent data from the Gallup Center on Black Voices indicate that more than three in four Americans support curricula that teach students about the current impacts of racism (76%). This finding comes amid new legislation restricting some lessons on present-day racism. While 87% of Black adults support the inclusion of the current impacts of racism in the U.S., 72% of White adults and 77% of Hispanic adults agree.
Americans are somewhat more likely to support addressing historical racism in K-12 curricula, as four in five support curricula that include the history of racism in the U.S. (81%). Even more Americans support teaching Black Americans’ contributions to the U.S. and their impact on society today (86%). Black adults are slightly more likely than White and Hispanic adults to say these topics should be taught. Still, large majorities of each group agree.
These latest findings, from a March 30-April 14 web survey of more than 13,000 U.S. adults, are similar to data from October 2021.
Current-day impacts of racism are the largest focus of recent policy decisions. Earlier this year, several states blocked a proposed Advanced Placement course about African American studies that was set to pilot in over 50 high schools nationwide, and more states soon adopted their own reviews of the content. Much of the decision to block the course was due to references to the impacts of racism in the post-Civil Rights era, particularly material from contemporary authors. Proponents of the legislation say it would allow teaching the history of slavery and past racial discrimination.
Republicans are the least likely to support all three topics in U.S. curricula, while Democrats are the most likely.
Views More Split on Teaching Juneteenth in U.S. Public Schools
Americans are more divided on including Juneteenth -- commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. -- in public school curricula, as 61% of U.S. adults say it should be included and 20% say it should not. Eighteen percent of Americans say they don’t know whether the history of Juneteenth should be taught, perhaps reflecting a lack of familiarity with the holiday. As with other race-related curricular topics, Black adults are significantly more likely than others to support the teaching of Juneteenth history.
Although Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021 after receiving bipartisan support in Congress, partisans differ sharply in their preferences for including it in public school curricula. While 82% of Democrats think Juneteenth history should be taught, 59% of independents and 36% of Republicans agree.
The content of curricula in U.S. K-12 schools has received increased attention in recent years, as there has been an uptick in the passage of laws restricting certain topics. Since 2021, 241 measures seeking to restrict the teaching of race and the impacts of racism have been adopted in the U.S.
Yet, as a whole, Americans support the inclusion of race- and racism-related curricula in U.S. schools, and this support has remained stable since 2021. Americans broadly support the inclusion of current impacts of racism in the U.S., the history of racism in the U.S., and Black Americans’ contributions to the U.S. and their impact on society today.
As schools adapt to new legislation limiting the teaching of race and the impacts of racism, further restrictions may be out of step with the opinions of Americans more broadly.
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