Survey finds that teenagers are split on the topic of teaching race and gender identity, much like their parents.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, adolescents in the United States are just as polarized as their parents on the topic of what educational institutions should teach concerning race and gender identity. The survey reveals that more students are receptive to discussions on racism or racial inequality compared to LGBTQ issues.

Close to fifty percent of teenagers aged 13 to 17 indicated a preference to learn about the ongoing impacts of slavery today, while forty percent favored the notion that slavery no longer affects Black Americans. This sentiment mirrors the preferences expressed by parents in a similar Pew survey in 2022.

Regarding the subject of race education, eleven percent of teens believe such topics should be omitted from the curriculum, while 8% claim that racism has not been addressed in their classes. Notably, twice as many Black teenagers as white and Latino individuals believe that students should be educated about the enduring impact of slavery.

Over two-thirds of educators advocate for teaching the lasting effects of slavery, with a majority expressing concern over state officials’ excessive influence on educational content. Additionally, the majority asserts that teachers should have more input in determining the curriculum.

The survey also sheds light on parental perspectives, with thirty-one percent advocating for teaching that gender can differ from one’s assigned sex at birth, while an equal percentage favors instruction asserting that gender is determined by birth sex. Opposition to discussing gender identity in schools stands at thirty-seven percent.

A substantial proportion of Republican adolescents, constituting fifty-six percent, oppose teaching about gender identity in schools. In contrast, forty-two percent of Democratic teens endorse education about the distinction between gender and birth sex—a view shared by only eight percent of Republican teens.

The latest Pew study aligns with past opinion polls, revealing greater public support for race-related education over LGBTQ topics. Notably, partisan divides and demographic disparities among the adult population closely mirror those indicated by other surveys conducted by various institutions.

The report further explores the preferences of individuals advocating for instruction on race and gender identity, highlighting students’ comfort levels during classroom discussions. Nearly 1,500 non-homeschooled teenagers participated in the survey.

Juliana Horowitz, Pew’s associate director of research, stresses that respondents’ views on the curricular matter do not necessarily reflect their personal beliefs. Furthermore, the survey did not delve into students’ sexual orientation, gender expression, or school environments.

In terms of comfort levels, thirty-eight percent of respondents are at ease when race-related topics are addressed in class, with twenty-one percent expressing discomfort. Likewise, twenty-nine percent feel comfortable discussing LGBTQ issues, while thirty-three percent are uneasy.

Significant disparities based on race, ethnicity, and political affiliations are evident in the survey results. Notably, one-third of Black teenagers feel uncomfortable discussing race-related topics in class, compared to nineteen percent of white students and seventeen percent of Latinos.

The survey results also reveal that eighty percent of white Democrats oppose parents being able to opt-out of race-related lessons, a sentiment shared by sixty-eight percent of Democratic youth. In contrast, four in five Republicans support the option for parents to opt-out of LGBTQ instructional content.

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