Seventy-seven percent of parents “choose strong neighborhood public schools over expanding choice, charters and vouchers, concludes a survey by the American Federation of Teachers, Public School Parents on the Promise of Public Education.
That contradicts research by less-biased groups, writes Daniela Fairchild on Education Gadfly.
It “finds,” for example, that just 24 percent of parents support school choice—dramatically fewer than other recent polls report. The latest Phi Delta Kappan/Gallup poll, conducted in August 2012, found that 66 percent of Americans supported charters and 44 percent are warm to private school choice. And the 2012 PEPG/Education Next survey concurred: Sixty-two percent of Americans favor charter schools.
So why the disconnect? . . . The AFT’s poll asks parents to choose between “good public schools” that offer “safe conditions” and an “enriching curriculum” and private schools paid for “at the public expense.” The former—naturally—won the day.
Other AFT questions are riddled with the same problem (see Terry Moe’s excellent book for more on how question framing pre-determines answers).
The vast majority of African-American voters in the South strongly support school choice, according to a survey by the Black Alliance for Educational Options. As the name suggests, BAEO supports school choice.
In Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi, 85 percent to 89 percent of those surveyed wanted as many educational choices as possible. A majority — 55 percent to 57 percent — said they would choose a different school for their child.
Like AFT, BAEO got the answers it wanted.