Floridians Back Parental Choice Over School Mask Mandates
Bottom Line: Wednesday was a big drop day for Florida polling with three pollsters dropping new polling data. While much of the attention went towards 2022 hypothetical matchups (spoiler alert, DeSantis and Rubio still show leads regardless of challengers or polls), the most compelling information isn’t for something which won’t take place for over a year. It’s about what’s happening in our classrooms right now. Kudos to FAU for polling on several relevant topics impacting us right now, including their objective questioning regarding parental choice and school mask mandates. As we wait to see what action the Florida Board of Education will take against the Alachua, Broward and now Hillsborough, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County school districts, over their mask mandates without parental choice, we now have a read on what Floridians think about providing parents with that choice.
To date, many of the arguments in favor of school mask mandates without parental choice, have included the narrative that most Floridians believe parents shouldn’t have a choice. As FAU’s survey has shown, that’s simply not the case. FAU intentionally asked multiple related questions. On the question as to whether you agree or disagree with the CDC’s decision to recommend students wear masks in school regardless of vaccination status,66% of Floridians agreed compared to 30% who disagree. That’s typically where other surveys have stopped. In so doing news outlets, politicians and school boards have irresponsibly taken that kind of information to mean something it does not as it’s commonly been reported that parents disagree with Governor DeSantis’s and the Florida Board of Education’s decision to allow for parental choice. That’s simply not the case. That’s where this next key question comes into play.
When FAU asked if parents should be able to choose whether their children should wear masks indoors at school, 51% of Floridians supported parental choice compared to just 40% who opposed. That's solid support in favor of the state’s position and it illustrates another important dynamic that’s in play during the pandemic. Pragmatism. 21% of Floridians who agree with the CDC’s recommendation for mask use in school, don’t believe a recommendation should equal a mandate which eliminates the choice of parent. That’s telling, and that’s the kind of nuance that’s commonly missed as many in news media, in politics and on school boards are simply looking to confirm their biases and preferences without eliciting the truth as to what we really think and believe. Floridians solidly stand with Governor DeSantis and the Florida Board of Education and against mask mandates imposed by rouge school districts.