by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Charles Fain Lehman of the Washington Free Beacon reports interesting details about Democrats’ attitudes toward charter schools.
While Democrats are often thought of as opponents of school choice, new data show the story is not so simple: an examination of trends from 2016 through 2018 revealed that while white Democrats have grown staunchly opposed, their Black and Hispanic peers remain in favor of charter schools. …
… Education Next, a pro-reform journal, has polled Americans on their views on charter schools since 2013, providing detailed data on party breakdown since 2015. Their polls indicate that charters are consistently more popular with Republicans than with Democrats, and that the schools have slipped to being net unfavorable with the latter group in recent years. …
… Charter schools have enjoyed net support among Hispanic and Black Democrats for at least the past two years, the Education Next data indicate. But support has cratered among white Democrats. In fact, as of 2018, nearly twice as many (50 percent) of white Democrats opposed charters as supported them (27 percent).
The reason for the emergence of this racial disparity is unclear. Chalkbeat speculated that it may be because Black and Hispanic parents have more direct exposure to charter schools: the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools estimates that compared to regular public schools, public charters enroll more Black (27 percent versus 15 percent) and Hispanic (26 percent versus 22 percent) students.
It could also be because Black and Hispanic parents are more dissatisfied with their current school options.