Jun 30, 2021 - News

Poll: Most Iowans oppose law restricting lessons on racism

Empty school desks and chairs stacked on top in a classroom.

Last day of school in Berlin. Photo: Annette Riedl/picture alliance via Getty Images

The majority of Iowans oppose a new law restricting how teachers talk about racism and sexism in classrooms, according to the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.

By the numbers: 56% of Iowans said they oppose the new law, 34% are in favor and another 10% are unsure.

  • The majority of Republicans approved of the law, with 57% supporting. But most Democrats (76%) and independents (58%) oppose it.

What the bill does: It bans schools from teaching that the U.S. or any particular people are inherently racist or sexist.

  • Though it doesn't mention critical race theory, when signing the law, Gov. Kim Reynolds said she opposes that concept and any "labels and stereotypes."

Between the lines: Because the bill's language is vague and subjective, most Iowa school districts are waiting for guidance from the state on how it actually influences classrooms.

  • But most don't believe it will change their lessons.

For example: Samantha Aukes, spokesperson for Ankeny schools, previously told Axios the district doesn't believe their curriculum will change. The bill says "stereotyping" and "scapegoating" are not allowed, which doesn't happen in classrooms.

  • "That has not been found to be an effective teaching and learning strategy," Aukes said.

What's next: The law goes into effect Thursday.

Of note: Selzer & Co. conducted the poll of 807 Iowa adults, June 13-16. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. 


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