(CNS News)—A new Rasmussen poll finds that Americans are more critical of teachers’ unions today than they were when asked the same question last year.
Rasmussen surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults on August 6 and 9, 2020, regarding their attitudes towards teachers’ unions. In one question, Rasmussen asked respondents whether or not they think teachers’ unions have a positive impact on the nation:
“In terms of its impact on the nation, is it a good thing or a bad thing that most teachers belong to public employee unions?”
While 39% said teachers’ unions are “a good thing,” this is down from 45% when Rasmussen polled Americans in January of 2019. In the most recent survey, 33% said teachers’ unions are “a bad thing,” while 13% said they have “no impact” and 14% weren’t sure how these unions affect the country.
Only 29% of people with children said that teachers’ unions have a good impact on the nation. Thirty-one percent of Republicans said that having “most teachers belong to public employee unions” is “a good thing” for the country, compared to 54% of Democrats.
More Americans said teachers’ unions have “too much say” regarding the overall operations of local school systems (39%) than said their influence is insufficient (24%) or “about right” (21%). Another 17% said they weren’t sure.
Sixty percent of parents voiced the opinion that these unions are “more interested in protecting their members’ jobs” than in the quality of education provided. When split across party lines, 65% of Republicans agreed that the unions put jobs over education, compared to 35% of Democrats.
This survey results come at a time when teachers have been protesting against returning to work, saying that online schooling should continue for at least the remainder of the semester due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Some teachers are “threatening to walk off jobs” if their demands are not met, and are emphasizing the importance of increased safety precautions in schools and classrooms, The New York Times reports.
Other teachers are even saying that they will not go back to their jobs unless police are defunded, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In Florida, unions are suing Republican Governor Ron DeSantis over his push to bring back in-person education.
Even if school systems concede and allow teachers to teach virtually for the fall semester, unions are already demanding limits on how long teachers are required to be on video and what they are required to do.
This puts a strain on parents who are trying to figure out how they’re going to go to work if their children are not in school. “I feel like we are treating children as pawns in this game,” Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education told The Wall Street Journal.
Ronda Ross, a Texas woman who wrote a letter to the editors at The Wall Street Journal, suggested a potential solution. “Republicans should pass legislation offering every child in a district that doesn’t reopen a voucher to attend the school of his choice,” she wrote. “When other schools are willing to reopen, let Democrats explain why children should be forced to remain at home, held hostage by the teachers unions.”