Survey shows growing awareness and favorable opinions of charter public schools
California public schools have navigated 18 months of extreme disruptions to the delivery of education caused by the COVID pandemic, with widely divergent supports and approaches. Huddled around screens across the state for a whole year, some students have thrived, while others struggled, revealing not only deep inequities in the systems that support students, but also parents who gained unique insights into how their students learn best. Parents now have a heightened awareness of different models available. For many, this newfound awareness resulted in exploring different educational opportunities.
The California Charter Schools Association’s recent annual survey reflects the changing opinions of all Californians, especially parents, as they look at the education landscape.
The good news is public opinion of charter schools is at its highest level in six years. The poll shows charter public school favorability increased from 47% to 52% across the state and reached the highest level since 2015. In Los Angeles, favorability increased by six points from the previous year.
This is paired with an increasing awareness of charters. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they know a great deal or some about charter public schools. Those who favor charters are more familiar with them than those who oppose them.
In addition to increases in favorability, more than three in four voters believe parents have the right to choose a charter school if they think it is better for their child. Even among those who are unsure if they favor or oppose charters, 68% believe that parents should have this right.
In Los Angeles, most voters feel it would be good if districts approved more charter schools. Statewide, 53% of parents agree. Meanwhile, 60% of parents surveyed say they would consider enrolling their child in a charter school.
Those results are supported by the latest California Department of Education enrollment numbers that show increases in charter public schools. Since the start of the pandemic, more parents have turned to charter schools and their flexible and individualized offerings. It was charter public schools that were able to use their flexibility and ingenuity to quickly adapt to campus closures and mitigate learning loss.
CCSA’s poll mirrors those enrollment shifts and, today, California’s charter schools are providing educational opportunities to nearly 700,000 students at 1,300 schools across the state. California charters are public schools, free, open to all and committed to delivering a high-quality education regardless of a student’s race, gender, religion, LGBTQ identification or test scores.
Check out our video here.