This past week the NAACP, the National Urban League and other civil-rights groups collectively condemned charter schools. Claiming to speak for minority Americans, the organizations expressed "reservations" about the Obama administration's "extensive reliance on charter schools." They specifically voiced concern about "the overrepresentation of charter schools in low-income and predominantly minority communities."
The truth is that support for charters among ordinary African-Americans and Hispanics is strong and has only increased dramatically in the past two years.
For the past four years, Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance, together with the journal Education Next, has surveyed a nationally representative cross-section of some 3,000 Americans about a variety of education policy issues. In 2010, we included extra samples of public-school teachers and all those living in zip codes where a charter school is located.
I think the figure from parents is huge.
African-Americans for Charter Schools
- Support for charters among African Americans rose to 49% in 2009, up from 42% in 2008. This year it leapt upward to no less than 64%. Among Hispanics support jumped to 47% in 2010, from 37% in 2008.
- Opposition to charters is expressed by 14% of African-Americans and 21% of Hispanics. Twenty-three percent of African-Americans and 33% of Hispanics take a neutral position.
- Among the public as a whole, charter supporters currently outnumber opponents by a margin of better than 2 to 1. Forty-four percent say they are in favor of charters, while 19% stand in opposition.
- Parents in general are even more supportive of charter schools: 51% like them, 15% don't.
- [P]arents in communities with charter schools favor them by a margin of 57% to 16%.
- [C]harter support among public school teachers has slipped to 39% in 2010, from 47% in 2008.
By PAUL E. PETERSON AND MARTIN R. WEST
51% pro; 15% con
I don't know how to extrapolate from polling data, but my feeling about that figure is that charter schools are here to stay.
I hope vouchers will be next. I worry about charters killing off private schools.