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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Charters lose support, but fewer oppose choice

Public support for charter schools has fallen among Democrats and Republicans, but opposition to school vouchers and tax-credit-funded scholarships also has declined, reports the 2017 EdNext Poll on School Reform.

The “sharp drop” in support for charters “could reflect the waning influence of the Obama administration,” Ed Next concludes.  Once a charter supporter, Hillary Clinton said in her campaign that charters “don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids or, if they do, they don’t keep them.”

In addition, the left wing of the Democratic Party is strongly anti-charter, teachers’ unions have ramped up anti-charter campaigns and the NAACP has called for a moratorium on charter school expansion.

Researchers did not find a “Trump effect.”

“The poll does not show a drop in public support for charter schools; it shows a drop in support for the word ‘charters,'” said Jeanne Allen, founder of the Center for Education Reform, in a statement. “When the question included a definition of charter schools, there was no drop in support for charter schools from the general public or parents” from 2016.

Education Week has more.

Support for national standards is up — as long as “Common Core” isn’t mentioned, the poll found.

Compared to the 2015 survey, there’s more support for minimizing the federal role in education and giving more power to local governments to set standards and identify and improve failing schools.

Fewer people favor merit pay, an end to teacher tenure and increases in teacher pay.

The public disagrees on the effects of technology: 44 percent said spending more time on computers at school would improve learning,while 35 percent said it would be a negative.

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