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Tennesseans Want More School Options, Strong Charter School Laws

Summary of Findings from Latest Survey

May 2012

In May 2012, the Center for Education Reform (CER) conducted a random survey of registered Tennessee voters* to gauge their knowledge and perceptions of charter schools.  Key findings are highlighted below.

Tennesseans overwhelmingly support charter schools.  71 percent of surveyed Tennesseans say they support “allowing communities to create new public schools, called charter schools, that give parents a choice of where they send their children that would be held accountable for student results and that would be required to meet the same academic standards/testing requirements as other public schools but not cost taxpayers any additional money. Charter schools also enjoy tri-partisan support in the Volunteer State. Republicans (79 percent), Democrats (66 percent) and Independents (65 percent) overwhelmingly support the creation of charter schools.

Tennesseans support the opportunity to choose among a wide variety of schools. 60 percent prefer “allowing the parent to choose from a number of public schools” over “assigning children to one public school based solely on where they live.”

Tennesseans understand and support charter school laws that allow multiple authorizers.  After being told “other states allow entities such as universities, mayors, and independent commissions to approve and help monitor charter schools”; 57 percent agree “the legislature should allow other entities the authority to approve the creation of charter schools in Tennessee.”

Tennesseans are aware of charter schools but still do not identify them as public schools.  Of the 75 percent who said they know at least a little about charter schools, only 26 percent correctly identified them as public schools.

*The Center for Education Reform partnered with Majority Opinion Research – a leading U.S. research organization based in Atlanta, GA – to conduct a random statewide telephone survey of 657 registered voters May 3 – May 7, 2012.  The margin of error for the Tennessee survey is +/- 3.7%

For related press release, click here.