Blue school districts far more likely to include diversity in mission statements: analysis

Students walk into Liberty Elementary School during the first day of class Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, in Murray, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

School districts in areas that voted for President Biden in 2020 were more likely to include language about diversity, equity and inclusion in their mission statements than school districts in Republican areas, according to a new analysis from Pew Research Center.

In Democratic-voting areas, 56 percent of school mission statements talked about diversity, equity and inclusion efforts compared to only 26 percent in Republican-voting districts, according to the results.

The gap in language does not only occur across partisan lines, but demographics as well.

Urban and suburban schools are twice as likely to include language about diversity, equity and inclusion compared to schools in rural areas. Although, Pew said that 9 out of 10 rural school districts are located in Republican areas.

“Diversity-related topics are also more common in school district mission statements from areas with relatively high median incomes, as well as areas with a lower proportion of White residents,” the analysis states. 

The analysis comes at a time when K-12 schools have more consistently found themselves in the political spotlight. 

One of the most notable examples is when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) endorsed candidates in dozens of school board elections in his state in 2022. 

Other areas where differences arose between Democratic and Republican-area school districts occurred in the mention of social-emotional learning and the use of the term “global” in mission statements. 

Social-emotional learning includes teaching children in schools about social and emotional skills, which is found more often in Democratic than Republican-area school districts. 

The term “global” in Democratic school districts is also used 31 percent of the time in mission statements compared to 14 percent in Republican-area schools. 

While partisan disagreements were clear in the analysis, there were also many similarities in mission statements across political and demographic lines. 

A majority of the 1,314 public school mission statements analyzed hit on topics such as future readiness, safe and healthy environments and parent and community involvement, according to the analysis.

Tags democrats Diversity Joe Biden republicans Ron DeSantis

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