It’s time to re-imagine public education in Georgia. The Georgia Charter School Association issued a press release reflecting that parents want school choice and that the support for charter schools is steadily growing in Georgia.
Two-thirds of Georgia voters favor public charter schools!
The pandemic widely exposed Georgia’s issues in our public education system. Decisions from Georgia’s top leaders to cut the Georgia education budget during the early spread of COVID-19 to our schools reopening during a period of extremely high numbers has made parents question the sensibility of traditional public school districts.
In a recent town-hall I hosted, parents in traditional public schools are most frustrated with the lack of preparedness and support for them, teachers and students. The struggles of virtual learning and the digital divide in the traditional public school system
In preparing for back to school 2020, parents, students and even teachers have spoken out against the issues in traditional public schools. Issues that quite honestly have needed to be changed for decades. I, like many Georgia parents, believe this change will be seen through the innovation that charter schools bring.
These challenges have inspired even more Georgia parents to support school choice.
Georgia charter schools such as 7 Pillars Career Academy, Ivy Prep and the RISE Schools are not only giving parents options from traditional public schools. Their approaches to academics, social and emotional learning and helping to bridge academic gaps. These and many other charter schools in Georgia serve as a mirror to what traditional public schools can be.
The Georgia Charter School Association recently published this press release:
Georgia voters overwhelmingly support public charter schools. Two-thirds, 67%, of likely voters participating in a Cygnal public opinion poll expressed favorable views of public charter schools. The survey of 640 likely voters also found that a sizeable percentage of parents who live in metro Atlanta (72%) and (75%) in South and East Georgia would send their children to a public charter school if one was available in their community.
Survey respondents also expressed that they want additional public school options, full funding for existing charter school grants, and they are less likely to vote for a candidate that would maintain status quo funding for school districts only offering virtual learning and taxpayer funding for education in Georgia should follow the child. The advanced multi-mode survey of Republican, Democratic, Independent and undecided voters was conducted between Aug. 22-Aug. 24, 2020.
“These findings support what we have long known to be true in Georgia,” said Tony Roberts, President and CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association. “For years, we have seen strong demand by families seeking to enroll their children in a Georgia public charter school. “In 2012, a super-majority of Georgia voters backed an amendment to reestablish a state authorizer for charter schools in Georgia’s constitution. Families in our state continue to believe that public charter schools put the needs of students first and positively contribute to Georgia’s overall public school system.”
Georgia voters of all races and political affiliations approve of public charter schools
The public opinion poll found that Georgia voters of all racial demographics support public charter schools. 83% of Asian voters, 83% of Latino voters, 67% of White voters and 65% of Black voters expressed a favorable opinion of charter schools. According to survey results, 73% of Independents, 68% of Republicans and 64% of Democrats say they support public charter schools.
More than half of Georgia’s parents want more free public-school options: 52% of Georgia parents who were surveyed say they want additional free public school options. The creation of more public school options was especially important to low and middle-income Georgians. 54% of respondents who made less than $50,000 annually and 58% making between $50,000-$90,000 say more free public school options are needed. Both Democratic (55%) and Republican (51%) voters agreed that more public school choices are necessary. Only 20% of Georgia parents say they are not in favor of additional public school options for students.
Georgia voters support fully funding existing charter School Grants: 56% of voters support the state fully funding the charter school grants it has already created. This includes 50% of teacher households and 75% of parents. It is especially popular with 18-34-year-olds, Republicans, Independents, low-income voters, college-educated voters, and those living in Metro Atlanta. The grants are opposed by just 26% of voters.
Georgians want funding reductions for districts that only offer distance learning : More than half of Georgia voters (52%) who were surveyed say they are less likely to support a state lawmaker who votes to continue funding school districts at the same level if they’re not offering full-time in-person learning. Only 27% percent of voters were more likely to support a state legislator who continues for school districts that have no in-person learning options for students. This survey was conducted as many Georgia families have students participating in distance and hybrid learning due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Taxpayer money should follow the child: 64% of Georgia voters believe that the money should follow the student and those funds do not belong solely to the district. They want children to be able to use the state funds that are allocated for their education in the school that best fits their needs whether it be public, private, magnet, charter, virtual, or homeschool (70% agree and 22% disagree). Additionally, respondents say they are more likely to support a legislative candidate who supports school choice (53%). These polling results come as a number of Georgia families examine different educational options for their children as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methodology: The survey was conducted Aug. 22-24, 2020, with 640 likely general election voters. It has a margin of error of ±3.87%. A group of known voters who were likely to vote in the 2020 General Election was randomly selected and interviewed via live agents calling cell phones and landlines, and voters received invitations to participate in the survey via SMS and email with a secure link tied to their voter record. The survey was weighted to a likely general election universe.
Cygnal is an award-winning national public opinion and predictive analytics firm that pioneered multi-mode polling, peer-to-peer text collection, and Political Emotive Analysis. Cygnal was named the #1 most accurate polling and research firm in the country for 2018 by The New York Times. Its team members have worked in 47 states and countries on more than 1,100 corporate, public affairs, and political campaigns.
About Georgia Charter Schools Association
The Georgia Charter Schools Association is a nonprofit membership organization for Georgia’s public charter schools and petitioners. Our mission is to advocate for, foster and support autonomous, high-quality charter public schools throughout Georgia. We believe every child in Georgia should have equal access to a high-quality, transformative public education.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.