New National Survey Shows 78% of Parents Support Charter Schools Opening in Their Neighborhood
Support Greater Among Low-Income Parents Who Strongly Favor National Charter Expansion
Washington, D.C. – A new national survey of parents with school-age children released today shows that 78 percent of parents support having a charter public school open in their neighborhood, with 73 percent in support of more charter schools opening nationwide. Support is even greater among low-income parents, with 88 percent of low-income parents in favor of having a charter school in their community, and 84 percent in support of more charter schools nationally.
Commissioned by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the survey is based on interviews with more than one thousand (1,003) parents and examines the interest for charter schools among parents across the nation, even among parents who do not necessarily live in a community, or even a state, with charter schools.
Survey results also showed that an equal number of parents across the country (78 percent) favor allowing parents to choose their child’s public school, regardless of where they live. Support is even higher among African-American parents (82 percent), Hispanic parents (84 percent), and low-income parents (86 percent).
“Parents across the nation are telling us that they want to be able to choose the best public school for their child, and the results from this survey reinforce the demand for more high-quality charter schools,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “Today, nearly 3 million students are enrolled in about 7,000 charter schools, but there are still numerous students on wait lists. These results should make it clear to our nation’s leaders that they need to make charter school access a priority.”
Nationwide, support for public school choice among parents outweighs opposition by an almost five-to-one margin (78 percent to 17 percent). Opposition to charter schools, specifically, remains at only 16 percent.
The survey found that more than 30 percent of parents are interested in sending their child to a charter school. Further, when given the choice of any type of school, one in 10 parents said charter schools were their first choice. This means potentially at least another 2 million students whose parents would enroll them in charter schools if they could. Many respondents, who already have charter schools in their community but whose children do not attend them, pointed to accessibility problems, citing reasons such as excessive distance to the schools and demand being higher than the number of available seats.
“This survey confirms to us the importance of all parents being able to choose the public school that best meets their children’s needs,” Rees added. “We are listening to parents and will continue to fight so that all families have the option to send their child to a high-quality public school.”
Charter schools, which are public and tuition-free, offer innovative classroom teaching, curriculum flexibility, and better academic results. According to the survey, parents particularly value charter schools for providing more public school options and supporting teachers, as well as for their unique accountability and structured learning approaches.
About Charter Public Schools
Charter public schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.
About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org