Not All Families are Welcome: Evidence from a National Survey Experiment

Pizmony-Levy, Oren; Kosciw, Joseph; Moland, Naomi

Many experts in multicultural education believe that a curriculum that is inclusive of diverse groups—including diverse cultures, races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations— instills a belief in the intrinsic worth of all individuals and in the value of a diverse society. Teaching about different types of families allows all students to understand the diversity of family forms and exposes them to differences in their community. This type of inclusion also allows students to see themselves included in the curriculum, which can relate to better feelings about themselves and their family and generally more engaged in their education. Unfortunately, diversity in the school curriculum has become a political battleground. In the past few years, we have seen a rise of opposition to inclusion in classroom teaching on racial inequality and structural racism and on LGBTQ issues.

This research brief examines Americans' views of teaching about different types of families in primary and secondary schools. We use an experimental design in which we randomly assigned respondents to read about “families with gay and lesbian parents” or “single parent families”, and asked the respondents to share their views of teaching about these families. A large majority (79 percent) of American adults believe elementary and secondary school students should learn about single-parent families at school, but a smaller majority (61 percent) believe they should be exposed to classroom materials featuring families with gay and lesbian parents.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
International and Comparative Education
Published Here
July 3, 2023