Voters Rank Top Problems Facing Education. Lack of School Choice Isn’t One of Them

LINWOOD MIDDLE SCHOOLConsidering the amount of oxygen the topic of charter schools and vouchers takes up in state legislatures and in the news media, you would think that the American public must rank school choice very high as a top concern for U.S. education.

But according to a new poll of registered voters conducted by In the Public Interest and the Center for Popular Democracy, a scarcity of school choice options barely registers as an issue. In fact, it ranks last – well behind lack of parental involvement, overtesting, cuts to funding, recruiting first-rate teachers, and poverty’s effect on student learning.


The poll also found that 63 percent of respondents rate the quality of education at public schools in their neighborhood as excellent or good and 68 percent hold a favorable view of public school teachers (only 11 percent had an unfavorable view). Voters are also more likely to say public schools in their neighborhood are getting better (31 percent) than getting worse (16 percent).

The poll dug deep into the public’s attitudes toward charter schools. Huge majorities of voters favor a slew of proposals to make charters more effective, accountable and transparent to taxpayers, including teacher training and qualifications, anti-fraud provisions, and measures to ensure high-need students are served.

Specifically, more than 80 percent of respondents support regular audits of charter finances, public disclosure of how taxpayer money is spent, and requirements that charter operators open up their board meetings to parents and the public.

Slightly smaller majorities favor steps to ensure that neighborhood schools do not lose funding when a new charter school opens, along with an analysis on the impact a new charter would have on existing schools.

  • Clara

    Aren’t spending cuts due to charter schools taking funds away from public schools? Lower enrollment also is a factor in money in a school district. I think charters take is questionable when you think about equal education for all.


    The canard that charter schools are superior is just that. The record abundantly shows that for every so called success story charter school, 10 are substandard, have failed, or turned out to be a fly by night money making scheme. And this in an atmosphere where almost all charter schools refuse to take children with special needs, such as blind or handicapped students, Special Education children, low income children, and children with behavioral and emotional issues.

    • Chuck Fellows

      What record abundantly shows what? That the traditional model of education does not serve all equally well, in the range of 30% of the student population? That funding controlled by legislatures and special interests reflect their expectations totally divorced from the needs of the individual child and community that child lives in? A system of education so focused on academic superiority that this nations faces a huge and potentially devastating skills deficit?
      It’s about children learning and creating the greatest opportunity for all children to take a learning journey that fits their needs not yours or mine or the politicians and the pundits.
      And by the way the current systems used to evaluate education are bogus, useless wastes of enormous sums of taxpayer dollars to satisfy the adult ego, nothing more.

  • Chuck Fellows

    Not think, know. Compensation is disclosed here in Michigan whereESPs are limited as to revenue. Keep in mind that fully certified teachers choose to work in a charter school environment where work quality can be higher than in a traditional environment where behavior is prescribed by law and regulation. Although the legislature here is considering lifting the certification requirement to teach in K-12. Not a good idea.

  • Elizabeth Alex

    thanks for sharing this concern with us. I think it would best for us to be
    aware of such educational problems. Discover latest and useful updates on different issues and
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