Where Millennials Stand on Education’s Most Controversial Issues

Recently, I attended an event focused on millennials’ views on a variety of education-related issues. The event’s panelists discussed results released as part of GenForward’s education survey. Survey results were included in a report titled Education in America: The Views of Millennials, released by GenForward in September. According to the report, GenForward surveyed over 1,750 young adults ages 18-34 with a particular focus on “how race and ethnicity influence how young adults or Millennials experience and think about the world.”

Although the survey questioned respondents on how they view myriad education issues, here are the results I found most compelling:

  1. Majorities of millennials in different race/ethnic groups give their own education high grades. Their overall grades for public school in America are much worse. GenForward’s survey found 75 percent of Asian Americans grade their own educational experience as an A or B, along with 65 percent of white respondents, 59 percent of Latinx respondents, and 56 percent of African American respondents. However, only 20 percent of whites, 26 percent of African Americans, 31 percent of Asian Americans, and 32 percent of Latinxs give America’s public schools a grade of A or B.
  2. Millennials support school choice, but they don’t see it as the silver bullet to improve America’s education system. Majorities of millennials support charter schools, including 65 percent of African Americans, 61 percent of Asian Americans, 58 percent of Latinxs, and 55 percent of whites. Additionally, large majorities of millennials support voucher programs when these programs are targeted specifically to low-income students, according to GenForward. Seventy-nine percent of African Americans, 77 percent of Latinxs, 76 percent of Asian Americans, and 66 percent of whites support these programs. However, when asked how to improve education in America, school choice did not land in the top three proposals for any racial/ethnic group surveyed. Respondents chose increase school funding, improve teacher training, and increase teacher pay as the three most logical methods to improve education in America.
  3. Millennials are split along racial/ethnic lines on the issue of whether race plays a role in determining the quality of a student’s education. However, all agree that a student’s socioeconomic status can play a role. According to GenForward’s survey, 59 percent of African Americans and 56 percent of Asian Americans say that students of color receive a worse education than white students. At the same time, majorities of Latinxs and whites say that race plays very little role in the quality of education a student receives. Though millennials are split on race as a determining factor, wide majorities of every racial/ethnic group surveyed said students with fewer economic resources receive a worse education than students from wealthy backgrounds.

As this generation continues to age during the next few decades—and more millennials become parents—it will be interesting to see if or how their views shift on education, as well as how this bloc’s views affect education policy in the years to come.

Alex McClung
Account Executive