Classroom Technology From Our Research Center

Does Your District Ban ChatGPT? Here’s What Educators Told Us

By Alyson Klein — February 28, 2024 1 min read
Vector illustration of the letters AI partially breaking through the red circle and slash symbol representing it being banned
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Most educators say their districts haven’t explicitly banned ChatGPT and other large language models powered by artificial intelligence, according to a survey conducted by the EdWeek Research Center.

In fact, nearly three-quarters of educators surveyed—73 percent—said their districts don’t prohibit the tools. Another 20 percent reported that teachers are allowed to access the technology, but students are barred from using it. An additional 7 percent say both teachers and students are banned from using generative AI in school.

The EdWeek Research Center’s survey of 924 educators, including teachers and school and district leaders, was conducted online from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6 of last year.

The districts outlawing generative AI are increasingly swimming against the tide, experts say.

When ChatGPT first came out in late 2022, some school systems—notably New York City—barred the tool. But the district has since reversed course and is launching an AI policy shop whose work can inform the broader field.

Experts don’t recommend banning AI tools. Instead, they say students should be taught to use them appropriately.

That’s in part to bolster their understanding of the technology, which could prove to be a valuable workplace skill. AI is already being used in everything from diagnosing diseases to determining the layout of a retail store.

“If our kids understand it and learn it at an early stage, then as they exit us, we’re able to give them the skills that they need to compete for jobs across the country and around the globe,” said Jerry Almendarez, the superintendent of the Santa Ana Unified school district in California. Santa Ana is also in the process of creating an AI policy shop.

For Catherine Truitt, North Carolina’s superintendent of public instruction, choosing to allow the technology in schools was an equity issue.

“If kids are not learning how to [use it] at school, and they don’t have access to it at home or have parents who can teach them how to leverage it, large swaths of children are missing out” on key career preparation, she said.

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Data analysis for this article was provided by the EdWeek Research Center. Learn more about the center’s work.

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