by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
The survey results below suggest that the sharp decline in charter school support reported last year was a blip. That said, Democratic approval of charter schools appears to have soured. According to Cheng and Peterson,
Unfortunately, the aura of bipartisanship surrounding the charter movement suffered heavy collateral damage during and after the intense battle over Betsy DeVos’s confirmation as Trump’s secretary of education. The NAACP and other civil rights groups called for a moratorium on the formation of new charter schools, despite the fact that black and Hispanic children are more likely to attend and benefit from charter schools than are white children.
Three points are worth noting. First, many still believe that charter schools are private schools. Second, charter schools enroll a relatively small percentage of students, so most public school parents have had little experience with them. (That is both a barrier to understanding, as well as an opportunity for charter advocates.) Third, if Democratic support for charter schools continues to decline, charter advocates may need to question current efforts to cultivate bipartisan coalitions, which is regrettable.