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Four-state study shows strong support among blacks for school choice

By   /   November 24, 2015  /   No Comments

A recent survey by the Black Alliance for Educational Options shows that black voters support school choice by a wide margin.

This survey of 2,400 African-American voters in four states found that they support a parent’s ability to choose the school that is best for their children — and indicated they are ready to vote those beliefs in some cases.

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“Black voters are looking for commitments from leaders who share their values to expand access to all kinds of educational options, including traditional public schools, public charter schools and private school,” said BAEO interim President Jacqueline Cooper. “There is no one single solution that will work for every state, city or district. Leaders need to engage with their communities to understand what will best serve low-income and working-class Black families. In our experience, the best solutions will come from community engagement. Candidates should take notice.”

Key findings include:

  • More than 90 percent of respondents in all four states say a candidate’s views on education is important to them before they vote.
  • Six in 10 support school vouchers to provide scholarships to send children to eligible private schools.
  • Seven in 10 say they support providing parents with more educational choices in their local school districts.
  • The majority of voters surveyed support charter schools — more than 65 percent in Louisiana and Tennessee.
  • At least 60 percent say assessment testing is necessary to hold schools accountable; in Tennessee and Alabama that number increases to nearly 70 percent.

“When we see reading and math scores decline in both 4th and 8th grades in the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress, we know that change is needed,” said BAEO Director of Policy and Research Tiffany Forrester. “And when we see 70 percent support for more parent choice options such as high-quality traditional public, public charter and scholarship programs, it’s a strong indicator that black voters know what they want for their children and are engaged in the education reform process.”

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Amelia Hamilton was a former Watchdog.org education correspondent.