Californians across political parties oppose school board book bans, survey says

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Good morning and welcome to the A.M. Alert!


In a sign that Californians might be tired of the culture wars rocking the nation, a new survey published Wednesday evening shows that a majority of Golden State residents, regardless of party, oppose local school boards banning books and support teaching students about slavery, racism and segregation.

The survey, by the Public Policy Institute of California, shows that 69% of Californians oppose efforts by school boards to ban books. Among public school parents, that number drops to 55%.

Californians of all political stripes oppose book bans, the survey found, including 84% of Democrats, 71% of independents and 53% of Republicans.

The survey also shows that Californians support teaching students racially conscious history — 84% of Californians overall, 92% of Democrats, 83% of independents and 73% of Republicans.

The poll also found that if California lawmakers send a school facilities bond measure to voters, a little more than half would support it.

According to the PPIC poll, 53% of likely voters said they would vote “yes” on such a bond, while 44% said they’d vote “no.”

As is often the case, views vary by party. Democrats (71%) are much more likely to support a bond to fund school construction projects than are Republicans (25%) or independents (49%).

On the local side, half of likely voters said that they would vote “yes” on a local school district bond measure, while 48% said they would vote “no.”

But when asked whether they would support a parcel tax increase to pay for increased school funding, just 42% said that they would be a “yes,” while 56% said that they’re a “no.”

The poll also showed the impact that COVID-19 had on public education.

A little over half (51%) of public school parents said that their child fell behind academically during the pandemic, while 40% said that their child stayed on track and 9% said their child actually got ahead.

Nearly half (47%) of parents say catching up academically is the biggest challenge for their child, while 34% said it was dealing with the social-emotional impacts of the pandemic and 18% said their child’s biggest struggle is readjusting to the regular school routine.

Finally, half of California voters say that Gov. Gavin Newsom is doing a good job handling public K-12 education, while 47% approve of the work that the Legislature and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond are doing.

The PPIC surveyed 1,605 Californians, with a margin of error of 3.3%. Interviewing took place between March 16 and March 25.


U.S. Health Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is considering a run for California governor, according to a scoop from Politico.

If he runs, Becerra would join a crowded list of Democratic heavyweights vying for the governor’s mansion, a list that includes former Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Superintendent Thurmond and former Controller Betty Yee.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta also is rumored to be mulling a run.

Prior to joining President Joe Biden’s cabinet, Becerra served as California attorney general, and made a name for himself by filing a stack of lawsuits against then-President Donald Trump, a record he likely would lean on if he ran.

But Becerra’s record doesn’t just include taking on the Trump Administration — it also includes threatening journalists and siding with law enforcement in keeping police misconduct records away from the public, as noted in a Gil Duran column in The Bee in 2020, shortly after Biden announced his intent to nominate Becerra.

When journalists with the Investigative Reporting Project at UC Berkeley acquired the names of police officers accused or convicted of crimes, Becerra warned them to destroy the data or face potential prosecution. They published anyway and Becerra ultimately backed down, but it could augur poorly for how a Gov. Becerra would treat the press if he’s elected in 2026.


“I am very blessed, it is my great joy to announce my dear sister, she is one of the great freedom fighters of her generation, one of the great love warriors of her generation. She’s a doctor, she’s a professor, most importantly, she’s a lover of the people. Her name is Melina Abdullah.”

- Cornel West, who is running for president as an independent, announcing Melina Abdullah, a Los Angeles-based academic and activist, as his 2024 running mate, on the Tavis Smiley Show.

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