School principals say misinformation, politics made last year ‘rough as hell’ : NPR

“Rough as hell.”

That’s how one high school principal in Nevada describes the 2021-’22 school year, when conflicts with parents and community members were all too common.

“Something needs to change or else we will all quit,” says another principal, in California.

Those voices are part of a new, nationally representative survey of 682 public high school principals, many of whom describe a level of tension and division within their broader school communities that is not only high but, in the words of one Utah principal, making the job harder “than any other era in my 20 years of administrative experience.”

John Rogers, a professor of education at UCLA, helped lead the survey effort and says, while an earlier, 2018 survey of principals revealed conflicts spilling into schools, “what’s different in 2022 is that a lot of the political conflict is being targeted at public schools,” especially in narrowly divided “purple” districts.

More than two-thirds (69%) of principals surveyed report “substantial political conflict” with parents or members of the community last year over several controversial topics:

  • Teaching about issues of race and racism
  • Policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ student rights
  • Social-emotional learning
  • Student access to books in the school library

…(read more).

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