Illinoisans Do Not Approve of Fighting at School Board Meetings, Support Historically Accurate Curriculum and are Opposed to Book Bans

Data from IEA’s Annual Bipartisan State of Education Poll shows where Illinoisans stand on key education issues

SPRINGFIELD — To coincide with the first day of early voting for Illinois school board elections the Illinois Education Association (IEA) is releasing a portion of its bipartisan annual State of Education poll. The poll finds Illinoisans are opposed to fighting and contention at school board meetings and believe our students should get an honest education.

“The vitriol that is infiltrating public education at all levels is like nothing we’ve ever seen in Illinois,” IEA President Kathi Griffin said. “Fake news and disinformation are fueling fears and that’s pitting school communities against one another, often over something that isn’t even true.”

The data show that overall:

  • One in five Illinoisans say there has been fighting, yelling or contention at their local school board meeting.
  • 44 percent say they have heard about fighting, yelling or contention at a school board meeting.
  • 66 percent of Illinoisans say they do not approve of the fighting, yelling and contention at school board meetings.

“These disruptions distract from the real issue, providing the best education for all our students. This has got to stop,” Griffin said.  “School board elections are right around the corner, and there are candidates of chaos on the ballot in Illinois. They are fueled and funded by dark money groups. These candidates are looking to further disrupt and dismantle public education at all levels. We are strongly encouraging all Illinoisans to get involved, educate themselves about their local candidates and vote for those who support our students and public education.”

The IEA poll also asked respondents about Critical Race Theory (CRT), which is taught at the college level and not taught in K-12 schools, honest education and book bans.

The bipartisan poll found:

  • Half of all Illinoisans oppose a law that bans CRT.
  • 77 percent favor teaching about slavery in the United States and its impacts.
  • 72 percent favor teaching about racism in the United States and its impacts.
  • 75 percent oppose banning books in Illinois school libraries.

“The people of Illinois have made it very clear they support an honest education for all of our students,” Griffin said. “They believe our students should have access to LGBTQ+ books. All of our students should know the truth about the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. They should know the truth about racism as a structure in United States society, history and culture. It is through the understanding of our history that we will be able to move forward successfully and not repeat the mistakes that were made in the past.”

The poll, conducted by Normington-Petts and Next Generation Strategies, surveyed 1,000 Illinoisans between Jan. 19 and 24. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent with 95 percent confidence.

The full IEA State of Education Report results and crosstabs will be released at a virtual news conference at 10 a.m. on Thurs., March 2. Please register to participate through this link.


At 135,000 members strong, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) is the largest union in Illinois. The IEA represents PreK-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty and support staff, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.

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