New Poll:

Majority of parents support law banning hair discrimination in public schools


Survey also finds more than half of surveyed parents want their child on campus full-time next year.

Boston, MA (June 2, 2021) — A new poll released today by the National Parents Union, an education advocacy organization, found that a majority of parents (81%) support the CROWN Act—a law that would protect public schools students and staff from discrimination based on race-related hair texture or hairstyle (e.g., braids, dreadlocks, twists, afros or natural hair). Meanwhile, 51% of surveyed parents said they want their child on campus full-time next year.

In March 2021, Connecticut became the eighth state to pass a law banning hair discrimination, joining a group that includes New Jersey, California, and New York. The House passed the bill in September 2020 and lawmakers led by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the legislation in March.

“As our country’s racial reckoning makes its way toward our public education system, it is important that families become aware of their rights and I am heartened by the fact that the CROWN Act has been passed by several states since, but we still have a long way to go to end hair discrimination,” said Keri Rodrigues, co-founder and president of the National Parents Union. “Just last month our coalition of parents rallied behind a Michigan family following an incident that emotionally scarred a seven year old girl because the adults at her school thought it appropriate to cut her biracial hair without her parents’ approval—stories like this one underscore just how necessary the Crown Act is so that we can begin the process of eliminating racial transgressions that too often occur. I call on Congress to immediately pass the CROWN Act and protect the rights of millions of young Americans”.

The poll also shed light on the plight of working families balancing work and child rearing: nearly 6 in 10 parents have experienced more stress due to COVID-19, while 1 in 4 had conflicts between work and childcare. Only 20% of parents said they had been given more flexibility in their work schedule by their employer, while 25% of parents with household incomes of less than $50k were more likely to have lost a job or furloughed this year.

Rodrigues continued, “COVID-19 has been devastating for working families, especially for women who bear the burden of childcare all while being the CEOs of their households and trying to balance endless priorities. We will continue to advocate for parents and make sure schools and policymakers are giving us a seat at the table—especially when it comes to federal funding needs so that kids do not get the short end of the bargain when it comes to their learning needs.”

The poll found that the majority of parents value having a choice between in-person and remote with 56% saying they want both options to be provided next year. In addition, fewer than 3 in 10 schools have communicated with parents about how they plan to use federal funding to help address the challenges related to COVID-19, while only 22% of parents say schools have asked them for input or feedback on how the additional federal funding should be used.

Preferences for only in person learning vs preferences for hybrid learning based on geographic region:

Northeast parents: 50% prefer in person vs 21% prefer hybrid

Midwest parents: 56% prefer in person vs 17% prefer hybrid

Parents in Southern states: 51% prefer in person vs 20% prefer hybrid

West Coast parents: 48% prefer in person vs 25% prefer hybrid

As in previous months, parents are least positive about schools providing the following:

  • Resources to support students’ mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • Resources to provide personalized learning to meet a child’s needs
  • Management of online learning programs or resources for remote learning
  • Time spent on instruction

The poll also found that 81% of parents support making public education a civil right—the highest level seen since September 2020.

Full toplines and crosstabs can be found here:

May 14-15, 2021