ERNA Poll Shows Voters’ Concerns for Education and Support of Public Charter Schools
August 13, 2020
New Poll Shows Voters’ Concerns for Education and Support of Public Charter Schools
Voters Concerned over distance learning, about returning to the classroom
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 13, 2020) — A new poll released today by Democrats for Education Reform partner organization Education Reform Now Advocacy and HIT Strategies shows that distance learning is overwhelmingly the leading concern of voters when it comes to weighing issues K-12 schools are facing amidst COVID-19.
The survey, conducted in North Carolina and Georgia, found 57% voters—including 64% of African American voters, and 62% of voters who identify as parents—listed this issue as their biggest worry, followed by a lack of funding (11% of total vote); safety and/or security (9% of total vote); and concerns over the quality of education (6% of total vote).
“The health and safety of students and educators should be the number one priority guiding decisions on school reopenings, and any decision to reopen must be made locally with health experts,” said DFER National President Shavar Jeffries. “The findings from this poll emphasize the importance of high-quality alternatives to traditional classroom settings—particularly through distance learning—as districts and schools navigate learning during this crisis.”
The poll found that the majority of voters (>50%) did not support students and teachers returning to school before there is a coronavirus vaccine; or students and teachers returning to school for the traditional five-day schedule. Also of note, 66% of total voters supported teachers who are high-risk for severe illness continuing to instruct from home, and 60% of voters supported prioritizing in-person instruction for students who academically need it most. The majority of voters (58%) also supported students and teachers returning to school 2-3 days a week, with distance learning on the remaining days.
When it comes to public school choice, and particularly public charter schools, the poll found that 73% of all voters—and 69% of African American voters, and 75% of parents—support expanding access to more choices and options within the public-school system, including magnet schools, career academies, and public charter schools. A majority (68%) of all voters also support increasing accountability measures for public charter schools to ensure they are prioritizing their students’ needs first. A large majority of all voters (76%) did not support putting into place a nationwide moratorium that would ban all federal funding for new charter schools.
This 800-sample survey was conducted from July 23-31, and consisted of 400 registered voters each in Georgia and North Carolina from all political viewpoints with a 100-person oversample each of African Americans and parents. The survey was conducted via a double opt-in online panel.
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