As I’ve traveled the country talking about the Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda (ITPI’s responsible contracting reform proposal), I’ve heard a lot of stories about charter schools operating with taxpayer funds but little public oversight or accountability. The number of charter schools has grown rapidly over the last ten years and while some have succeeded, too many have failed to perform, wasted taxpayer money and in some cases stolen money earmarked to educate the next generation.
To understand more about the way Americans think about charter schools and ways we can start to fix the charter system, we partnered with our friends at the Center for Popular Democracy to conduct a national opinion poll.
The results show that Americans – liberals, moderates and conservatives alike – overwhelmingly support common sense reforms to strengthen charter school accountability and transparency, improve teacher training and qualifications, prevent fraud, serve high-need students and ensure that neighborhood public schools are not adversely affected.
Key findings include:
- A full 62% of voters want to keep the number of charter schools the same or reduce the number of charter schools in their area;
- 63% rate the quality of education at public schools in their neighborhood as excellent or good;
- 68% hold a favorable view of public school teachers;
- School choice ranks last in a list of the biggest problems facing K-12 education;
- Overwhelming majorities, as high as 89%, favor the “Charter School Accountability Agenda” proposals to strengthen transparency and accountability, teacher training and qualifications, anti-fraud measures, and ensuring high-need students are served.
The Charter School Accountability Agenda is an 11-point program for reform that will ensure charter schools are fulfilling their role in education as lawmakers intended.
We’re looking forward to bringing our Accountability Agenda to school districts and education officials across the country. You can support In the Public Interest’s efforts by making a tax-deductible donation today. You’ll keep us on the road and working with folks who can help make charter school reform a reality.