Civil rights groups that oppose charter schools are out of touch with blacks and Hispanics, writes Martin West on Education Next. The 2010 Education Next-PEPG Survey asked:
Many states permit the formation of charter schools, which are publicly funded but are not managed by the local school board. These schools are expected to meet promised objectives, but are exempt from many state regulations. Do you support or oppose the formation of charter schools?
Support for charters among the public at large hasn’t changed much in the last three years, but black support increased from 42 percent to 64 percent, “jumping 15 percentage points in the past year alone.” Hispanic support for charters increased from 37 percent to 47 percent. Few Americans say they oppose charters; many are undecided.
It is puzzling, then, that a coalition of prominent civil rights organizations last week issued a statement criticizing the Obama administration’s current emphasis on chartering as a strategy to turn around low-performing schools and bemoaning the heavy concentration of charters in high-minority areas.
According to the poll, 39 percent of public school teachers support charter schools; 36 percent oppose charters.