DFER Releases Results from Public Opinion Research on Charter Schools

Press Releases

May 9, 2019

DFER Releases Results from Public Opinion Research on Charter Schools
Previews Forthcoming “Democratic Guide to Public Charter Schools”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 9, 2019) – Today, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) released new public opinion research on Democratic support for public charter schools. The poll results are part of the 2nd Edition of DFER’s “Democratic Guide to Public Charter Schools (DGPCS),” which will be released in full next week in honor of National Public Charter Schools Week (May 12 -18).

Topline findings from the research include strong support for public charter schools among key Democratic constituencies, particularly Black and Hispanic voters.

These are the first publicly reported polling results in recent years that drill down on views about public charter schools and public school choice within the Democratic Party. The DFER-commissioned poll was conducted by Benenson Strategy Group, in consultation with 270 Strategies.

As the full forthcoming “Democratic Guide to Public Charter Schools” will show, from their origins in the 1980’s up until the present day, public charter schools have enjoyed strong bipartisan support, including from many prominent Democrats.

The guide will trace the origins of public charter schools back to leading progressive thinkers and advocates and shows that the current public charter school sector reflects our shared values of equalizing educational opportunities and empowering local communities. These leaders exemplify the ideal of fighting on behalf of our nation’s most vulnerable individuals, which has always been one of the Democratic Party’s core missions.

You can find the polling results here. The complete 2nd Edition “Democratic Guide to Public Charter Schools” will be rolled out next week.

Additional key findings include:

  • Findings from a poll of millennial voters, another key Democratic constituency, show even higher levels of support overall and similar trends among racial and ethnic groups relative to each other
  • Progressive charter advocates have some work to do with White Democratic primary voters who expressed the lowest favorability for public charter schools of all key demographic categories and who are also less likely to have their children enroll in and benefit from public charter schools.
  • The views of White Democratic voters seem to be a significant political impediment to parents of color gaining access to high-quality public charter schools that best serve their children.
  • Every key Democratic constituency supports public charter schools as part of a system of other public school choice options that includes magnet schools, Montessori schools, and career academies.