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New SPLC Poll Shows Floridians Overwhelmingly Support Public Education

FLORIDA — Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released a new statewide survey that shows most Floridians believe that a quality K-12 public education is a right, and that Florida should invest more in educating young people while allowing professional educators to guide curricula free from political influence.  

“In Florida, far-right groups supported by a handful of vocal political activists have created a false narrative that our public education system is broken,” said Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the SPLC and SPLC Action Fund. “But this could not be further from the truth. Public education remains a cornerstone of our democracy, and Florida parents and residents strongly support public schools and believe in the power of public education to ensure all children can thrive in the classroom and their future.” 

Ipsos, a leading market research and polling firm, administered the survey on behalf of the SPLC to 1,127 parents and other adults across Florida from December 1-16, 2023. The respondents expressed overwhelming support for public schools and educators. More than 80% said that K-12 education is a right and funding for public schools should be increased. Ninety-two percent of parents and 90% of the general adult population said curricula should be developed by education professionals.  

The survey also revealed Floridians’ views on many issues from school curricula and library books to parent involvement. Only about one in five respondents said they support allowing any parent to remove books from a school for any reason.  

According to the survey, Floridians are more likely to vote for political candidates who believe that public school curricula should be created by education professionals (77% of parents and 73% of adults) and who support increasing funds for public schools (71% of parents and 67% of adults). Nearly 70% of the adult population and nearly 60% of parents in Florida said they are less likely to vote for candidates who defer to political activists to set education policy.  

In recent months, anti-student inclusion groups like Moms for Liberty lost several local school board races they supported after a severe and protracted attack on public schools to silence educators and censor classroom discussions and reading materials about race, gender and LGBTQ+ people. Recognizing the political cost of these harmful policies, the leadership of the Florida Senate this month decided to abandon book bans and other bills that target Black and LGBTQ+ communities.  

“Despite Floridians’ overwhelming support for public schools, state leaders have pursued anti-education laws and policies that divert millions of dollars from public schools and diminish the quality of education students can expect to receive,” said Jonathan Webber, Florida policy director for the SPLC Action Fund. “We are already seeing the consequences of those decisions in how people vote and who they support for office. Floridians are determined to ensure all students have access to a quality free education without discrimination.”  

More information about the SPLC’s poll of Floridians’ support for public education is available HERE.