Millennials of Color Believe the Trump Administration Has Made “No Progress At All” at Ensuring All Children Are Given Equal Access to a Quality Education

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A survey released today by The Genforward Survey Project at the University of Chicago found that majorities of millennials of color believe that the Trump administration has made “no progress at all” at ensuring all children are given equal access to a quality education. 

However, nearly half of millennials believe the Obama administration made “some progress”.

The survey also found that 30 percent of African-American, 43 percent of Asian-American, 27 percent of Latinx, and 32 percent of white millennials have a “very unfavorable” opinion of U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. And as teachers in one of the largest school districts in the country prepare to strike, overwhelming numbers of millennials across race and ethnicity, when given the choice between strengthening teachers’ unions or weakening them, support strengthening them.

A breakdown of key findings per race and ethnicity follows at the bottom of this release.

When given 14 choices that ranged from increasing school choice to more testing, African American, Asian American, Latinx, and White millennials, across race and ethnicity, named increasing school funding and increasing teachers’ pay as among the most important ways to improve public education in their local school district(s). The same study found that a majority of millennials of color support race-based affirmative action programs designed to increase the African-American and Latinx/Hispanic students on college campuses. 

However, a substantial number of millennials of color also indicate that race should not be an appropriate factor when making admissions decisions.

“What our findings tell us is that when given a range of choices to improve public education, from starting more charter schools to returning to a back to the basics curriculum, young adults of color believe that if we adequately funded our schools and supported the teaching staff that would do the most to improve education. 

Clearly, these young people are willing to support such efforts like charter schools, but they do not believe more charter schools to be the most effective way to improve public education,” said Cathy Cohen, Principal Investigator and Founder of The GenForward Project.

“These results, especially those related to affirmative action show us that millennials of color have complex and seemingly contradictory opinions on affirmative action,” Cohen.  “I believe they understand the need and support the existence of affirmative action programs today, but aspirationally they would prefer if race, ethnicity and gender did not need to be considered in admission for the equal treatment of students of color.”

Other findings from the survey:

  • Nearly two-thirds of millennials believe that students with fewer economic resources get a worse education than other students.

  • Significant numbers of millennials, ranging from 53 percent of African American and Latinx millennials, to 57 percent of Asian American and 59 percent of White, also believe that good schools can make up for the effects of poverty on educational outcomes.

  • 65 percent of African American millennials, 60 percent of Asian American millennials, 59 percent of Latinx millennials, and 46 percent of White millennials believe students of color get a worse education than White students.

Nearly 2,000 African American, Asian American, Latinx, and White millennials were polled in the survey.  The GenForward Project releases surveys bi-monthly, paying special attention to how race and ethnicity shape how millennials experience and think about the world.

Other topics the participants were polled on include: government-funded school vouchers; charter schools; the return on investment and affordability of college; student loan debt; and school safety.

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