The “Understanding political polarization in schools” webinar last week provided a recap of highlighted data and comments on what teachers and district leaders nationally say about political polarization in schools gathered from the CRPE & RAND report Navigating political tensions over schooling fall 2022 American School District Panel survey.

Key takeaways:

  • Polarization was not dramatically higher in purple districts vs. red or blue, though those in “island districts” experienced increased threats and disparaging discourse.
  • Also noted some leaders stated that their community experienced urban/suburban divide issues.
  • Parents are a key source of pressure on teachers.
  • 46% of school leaders reported taking action to quell controversies and address community concerns.


What specifically worked?

Listening campaigns combined with sharing information with community members about the specifics of the instructional content. This dispelled the rumors which had circulated and aggravated community members.

Boards played a crucial role in navigating conflicts with the school community, though many reported needing outside support first to understand their responsibilities and legal obligations. Strong boards have the clarity to successfully generate community cohesion building and support of teachers.

The webinar video recording will be available until April 7, 2023: (Passcode: 1776Main).