Over 2/5 of parents didn’t vote in last school board election

Forty-one percent of parents said they did not vote in their last school board election, according to Education Next‘s national poll.

Conducted in May 2022 with a nationally representative sample of 1,784 American adults, the annual poll provides a telling deep dive into public opinion on a variety of education issues and how those perceptions have changed over the years.

Respondents were asked: “Do you remember for sure whether you voted in the last school board election?”

The largest group to say they voted, at 36 percent, were white respondents. Only 31 percent of the general public, 32 percent of parents, 33 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of Democrats, 24 percent of black respondents and 21 percent of Hispanic respondents said that they voted in their last school board election.

When asked if they had attended a local public school board meeting this past year, only 10 percent of parents said they had, the highest “yes” response percentage.

In Minnesota, a bright spot for conservatives from the November elections was among parent-backed candidates for school board. According to the Minnesota Parents Alliance, 49 of their endorsed candidates won election, “cut[ting] through all of the noise in this election” and winning “support from voters because they talked about the important issues — academic achievement, equality and parental rights,” said Cristine Trooien, executive director of the organization, which just launched this year.

Given the research on how small-but-organized groups — primarily teachers’ unions — have historically affected school board election outcomes, it will be important to continue encouraging voter turnout. Policy reforms, such as moving local elections to the same year as state and national elections, should also be considered.