Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Declining Support for Creating Charter Schools

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Declining Support for Creating Charter Schools

Article excerpt

Americans' support for creating new charter schools has declined dramatically in the past several years even as support for other school choice options has remained about the same, according to a new survey of public opinion by Education Next magazine.

Support for creating new charter schools dropped by 12 percentage points from 51% support to 39% support between 2016 and 2017, the largest change in opinion in this year's EdNext poll. Support fell among Republicans and Democrats, and opposition in both groups increased.

Support has also fallen among blacks and Hispanics, from 46% to 37% among blacks and from 44% to 39% among Hispanics. The EdNext poll surveyed about 4,214 adults over age 18 in May and June of this year, with field work by Knowledge Networks.

"The decline is not clearly linked to the occupant of the Oval Office," the pollsters said. "Directly informing Americans of the president's position on charters actually lifts their level of support. Further, support for private-school choice, which Trump also endorses, holds steady and may have ticked upward over the past year."

In a series of questions about vouchers, a majority of Americans (55%) support scholarships enabled by tax credits to allow low-income students to attend private schools, an approach that is said to be under consideration by the Trump administration. But support for such vouchers is down from a high of 60% in 2014. Tax-credit scholarships, which are offered in 17 states, allow individuals and companies to get a tax credit for donating to scholarship funds that are used to pay for private school tuition.

Opposition to universal vouchers, which would be available to all children, fell from 44% last year to 37% this year. …

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