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Charter School Reform Poll Memo

Click here for full PDF of Poll Memo

A new survey shows that Americans overwhelmingly favor a series of proposals to reform charter schools. Proposals garnering broad support include initiatives 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.

The following are key findings from the national poll of 1,000 registered voters, which was conducted January 25th – 29th, 2015:

Key Findings

• Voters have positive views of their public schools and public school teachers. Sixty-three percent of voters rate the quality of education at public schools in their neighborhood excellent or good, while just 29 percent rate them fair or poor. Voters are more likely to say public schools in their neighborhood are getting better (31 percent) than getting worse (16 percent), while a 42 percent plurality are not seeing much change either way. By more than 6:1, voters are more likely to have favorable than unfavorable views of public school teachers (68 percent favorable – 11 percent unfavorable).

• Lack of school choice does not register as a top concern. Voters focus on lack of parental involvement, too much focus on standardized tests, cuts to school funding, and class size as the biggest problems facing K-through-12 education. Lack of school choice ranks dead last on their list of concerns.

• Voters expressed mixed views on charter schools with a majority opposing expansion of charters. With no description, 44 percent favor charter schools, 18 percent oppose them and 38 percent do not have enough information to form an opinion. After a neutral description, 52 percent favor charter schools, while 38 percent oppose them. At the same time, 62 want to keep the number of charter schools the same or reduce the number of charter schools in their area, while 29 percent want to increase the number of charter schools in their area.

• Voters have limited awareness of charter schools and while they support charter schools, they don’t want to expand them. When simply asked their opinion about charter schools, 44 percent favor charter schools, 18 percent oppose them and 38 percent do not have enough information to form an opinion. At the same time, 62 want to keep the number of charter schools the same or reduce the number of charter schools in their area, while 29 percent want to increase the number of charter schools in their area.

• Voters overwhelmingly favor charter school reform proposals. Huge majorities of voters favor proposals to strengthen transparency and accountability, teacher training and qualifications, anti-fraud measures, ensuring high-need students are served and making sure neighborhood public schools are not adversely affected.