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Press Release



September 21, 2021
Contact: Christina Mazzanti

Educator Opinions on Vaccine Mandates and Mask Mandates Largely Tied to Political Affiliation, Per Survey


Mission Viejo, CA – The Association of American Educators (AAE), a national, non-union, professional association serving educators in all fifty states, today issues a preliminary release on the results from a national AAE member survey on educator sentiment regarding local and statewide mandates for in-school mask wearing and vaccination mandates for all eligible adults working in education.


The AAE survey found that support for mask and vaccine mandates are largely tied to self-identified political party affiliation, with eight in ten educators who identified as Democrats supporting mask and vaccine mandates and nine in ten educators who identified as Republicans opposing the same mandates. Educator party affiliation throughout the country roughly translates to 40% Democrat, 30% Independent, and 30% Republican, with nearly an equal number identifying as “liberal” as those identifying as “conservative.”


“Much like the rest of the population, America’s educators hold a wide range of views on issues impacting them and their students,” noted AAE’s Executive Director Colin Sharkey. “The best course of action will be for local communities and districts to engage directly with their educators and parents about how best to proceed to ensure healthy and effective learning environments for all children.”


Significantly, considering many states and districts are implementing vaccine mandates, only 20% of educators who identify as Republican say they are willing to comply with a vaccine mandate, and another 15% would comply under protest. 45% say they are unwilling, 20% haven’t decided what to do. Conversely 93% of Democrats would comply (including 3% under protest) with a vaccine mandate.


Which level of government issued a vaccine mandate had little impact on support, with 78% of Democrats supporting the mandate from a local district or county leaders and 84% supporting a mandate at the state or federal level. The same holds true for Republicans, with 91% opposing a mandate at all four options presented: local district/school leader, county or city elected officials, governor or state legislature, federal government or federal agency (although degree of opposition ticked upward with 83% strongly opposing a local mandate and 87% strongly opposing a federal mandate).


When asked about colleague behavior, 75% of Democrats did not support a colleague’s decision to not receive a vaccine compared to only 9% of Republicans.


62% of Republicans thought their city or state waited too long to relax the mask mandate or never should have had one in place. 62% of Democrats thought their city or state relaxed the mask mandate too soon or never should have relaxed it.


“It isn’t news that partisan politics is interfering with productive problem solving in our nation’s schools,” added Sharkey. “However, there is a growing number of educators who are seeking out non-partisan professional associations like AAE, hoping to change that trend and restore the focus to what is best for kids.”


The AAE educator survey on vaccine mandates and mask mandates was conducted online from August 11, 2021 through August 17, 2021. All AAE members, who are mostly public district and public charter educators serving in all fifty states, were invited to participate in the survey. A total of 1,312 educators completed the survey by the deadline and results are not weighted, and not presented as representative of the entire teaching profession. 74.92 % of respondents named their role as certified classroom teacher. Infographic of survey highlights available at


The Association of American Educators (AAE) is the largest national, nonunion, professional educator organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to educator empowerment and advocacy—promoting professionalism, collaboration, and excellence without a partisan agenda. AAE is committed to a teaching profession that is student oriented, well respected, and personally fulfilling. AAE serves members in all fifty states and welcomes professionals from all education entities. Membership is $16.50 per month and includes $2 million professional liability insurance, employment rights coverage, professional resources, and many other benefits. Classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, student teachers, university professors, and supporters can learn more at