Becoming an American

Published February 1, 1999

Learn about America

Parents of all demographic groups embrace the teaching of traditional American ideals:

  • Schools should teach kids to be proud of being part of America.
  • Schools should teach the responsibilities of citizenship.
  • Schools should not put a primary emphasis on ethnic group identity.
  • School should teach children that “it is good to question the actions and policies of the U.S. government.”

Respect Diversity

  • 85 percent of parents say it is absolutely essential to teach children to respect others from different backgrounds.
  • 69 percent want schools to teach the holidays and traditions of different cultures.

Freedom–and Responsibility

America’s parents treasure freedom, but they also believe that with freedom comes responsibility:

  • 88 percent believe equal opportunity for people regardless of race, religion, or sex is essential.
  • But 76 percent also say what makes America special is the expectation that people will work, earn their living, and not rely on the government.

Learn English Quickly

America’s parents fully reject the theory of bilingual education, believing schools’ first priority with immigrant students should be to teach English.

  • 67 percent of parents overall say it is important for the public schools to teach new immigrants English as quickly as possible, even if they fall behind in other subjects.
  • Foreign-born (75 percent) and Hispanic (66 percent) parents agree that students should learn English as soon as possible.