In a pioneering effort to bridge the gap between educational policy and parental expectations, the Southwest Public Policy Institute has joined forces with the Independent Women’s Forum to undertake a comprehensive survey aimed at capturing the voices of parents in New Mexico. At a time when political rhetoric increasingly polarizes communities, creating divisions that extend into every corner of public life, this collaboration emerges as a beacon of hope for constructive dialogue and understanding. Far too often, the cacophony of political agendas drowns out the genuine concerns and aspirations of the very constituents politicians claim to represent.
This project, therefore, stands as a critical initiative to cut through the noise and offer a clear platform for parents’ voices, ensuring their perspectives on public education are heard, understood, and considered. By acknowledging the complexities of the educational landscape amid a backdrop of divisive political discourse, this partnership seeks to illuminate the nuanced opinions of parents, who are striving to secure the best possible educational outcomes for their children in an ever-changing world.
This bilingual survey was conducted in both English and Spanish. It aimed to gauge parental attitudes and awareness on various issues related to education, specifically focusing on the prevalence and perception of transgender views in public education.
The survey consisted of eight key questions, with response options scaled from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The bilingual nature of the survey was crucial in ensuring inclusivity and wider participation, allowing responses from a diverse demographic, and encompassing a broader spectrum of socio-cultural backgrounds.
461 individual parents responded. Responses were collected between January 2, 2024 and February 2, 2024.
Awareness of Transgender Views
“I am aware of the increased prevalence of transgender views.”
“Soy consciente de la mayor prevalencia de opiniones transgénero.”
- Mean: 3.77; Median: 4; Mode: 5
- Hispanic average: 3.46
- Caucasian average: 4.09
The average response indicates a moderately high level of awareness among parents about transgender views. This suggests that a significant portion of the parent body is either informed or has been exposed to discussions regarding transgender issues in the educational context.
Concern about Transgender Views in Education
“I am concerned about the increased prevalence of transgender views in public education.”
“Me preocupa la creciente prevalencia de opiniones transgénero en la educación pública.”
- Mean: 3.40; Median: 4; Mode: 5
- Hispanic average: 3.37
- Caucasian average: 3.31
The responses reflect a moderate level of concern among parents regarding the increased prevalence of transgender views in public education. This score can be interpreted as a balance between parents who may have reservations and those who are less concerned about this issue.
Support for Transgender Views in Education
“I support the increased prevalence of transgender views in public education.”
“Apoyo la creciente prevalencia de opiniones transgénero en la educación pública.”
- Mean: 2.53; Median: 2; Mode: 1
- Hispanic average: 2.45
- Caucasian average: 2.67
With an average leaning slightly towards the lower end of the scale, it appears that there is a cautious or limited support for the increased prevalence of transgender views in public education. This could indicate varied personal, cultural, or ethical considerations influencing the parents’ opinions.
Child’s Interest in Different Gender
“My child has expressed interest in identifying as a different gender/sex.”
“Mi hijo(a) ha expresado interés en identificarse como de otro sexo.”
- Mean: 1.28; Median: 1; Mode: 1
- Hispanic average: 1.23
- Caucasian average: 1.36
The low average score here suggests that a majority of respondents’ children have not expressed an interest in identifying as a different gender. This could be reflective of the demographics of the survey or indicative of broader trends in the community.
Books Assessment for Age Appropriateness
“I believe that books in schools should be assessed for age appropriateness.”
“Creo que en las escuelas se debe evaluar la idoneidad de los libros para la edad.”
- Mean: 4.07; Median: 5; Mode: 5
- Hispanic average: 4.14
- Caucasian average: 3.99
A high average score indicates a strong agreement among parents that books in schools should be assessed for age appropriateness. This consensus underscores a common concern about the content children are exposed to in their educational materials.
Considering Alternative Education
“I am considering an alternative education model for my children.”
“Estoy considerando un modelo educativo alternativo para mis hijos.”
- Mean: 3.07; Median: 3; Mode: 5
- Hispanic average: 2.90
- Caucasian average: 3.07
The responses show a moderate level of interest in alternative education models. This suggests that while some parents are exploring or open to alternatives to the public school system, a significant portion remains inclined toward conventional educational models.
Parental Involvement in Curriculum Development
“Parents should be involved in curriculum development.”
“Los padres deben participar en el desarrollo del plan de estudios.”
- Mean: 4.09; Median: 5; Mode: 5
- Hispanic average: 4.06
- Caucasian average: 3.97
A high average score reflects a strong inclination toward parental involvement in curriculum development. This indicates a desire among parents to have a say or influence on the educational content and methods employed in schools.
Government as Final Authority on Curriculum
“The government should be the final authority on public school curriculum.”
“El gobierno debería ser la autoridad final en materia de currículo de las escuelas públicas.”
- Mean: 1.79; Median: 1; Mode: 1
- Hispanic average: 1.85
- Caucasian average: 1.74
The low average score indicates a general disagreement among parents with the idea of the government being the final authority on the public school curriculum. This reflects a preference for more localized or individualized control over educational content.
Summary of Additional Feedback
Opposition to Transgender Education: A significant number of responses express strong disapproval of discussing transgender issues in schools. Some responses indicate a belief that such topics are inappropriate for school settings and should be reserved for parental guidance at home.
Disagreement with Government Role in Education: There is a notable sentiment against government involvement in educational content, with some respondents advocating for a focus on traditional academic subjects and criticizing perceived political agendas in schools.
Concerns About Curriculum Content: Several responses emphasize a desire for traditional, classical education and express discontent with the inclusion of what they perceive as politically or socially liberal content.
Frustration with the Education System: Some responses express dissatisfaction with the overall state of public education, including concerns about bullying, lack of accountability, and the quality of teaching.
Desire for Parental Involvement: A recurring theme is the desire for more significant parental input in educational matters, with some respondents feeling that their perspectives and concerns are not adequately considered.
Criticisms of Educational Priorities: Some feedback criticizes the focus on topics like gender identity and sexual orientation, suggesting that these distract from more fundamental educational goals.
Diverse Opinions on Inclusivity and Diversity: While some responses support inclusivity and diversity, others are strongly opposed, viewing these efforts as overreaching or unnecessary.
Requests for More Practical Life Skills Education: There’s a call for more focus on practical life skills, such as financial literacy and job readiness, rather than what some see as less essential subjects.
The survey results highlight a range of attitudes among parents towards various aspects of education in New Mexico. While there is a notable awareness and concern about transgender views in education, there is less support for their increased prevalence. Additionally, the findings emphasize a universal preference for age-appropriate educational content and a significant interest in parental involvement in curriculum development. These insights are crucial for educators, administrators, and policymakers in understanding parental perspectives and addressing their concerns in the public education system.
The feedback reflects a wide range of opinions and concerns among survey respondents. The more aggressive or strongly worded responses tend to focus on opposition to certain educational topics, dissatisfaction with the current state of education, and a desire for more parental control and involvement in educational decisions. These insights can be valuable for understanding the community’s diverse viewpoints and informing future educational policies and practices.