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North Carolina Voters Want More School Options, Strong & Equitable Charter School Law

Summary of Findings from Latest Survey

July 2012

The Center for Education Reform (CER) conducted a random survey of registered North Carolina voters* to gauge their knowledge and perceptions of charter schools. Key findings are highlighted below.

North Carolina strongly supports charter schools. 70 percent of surveyed North Carolinians 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 enjoy tri-partisan support in the Tar Heel State. Republicans (81 percent), Democrats (59 percent), and Independents (67 percent) overwhelmingly support the creation of charter schools. Support for charter schools is strongest among African Americans (85 percent), women (82 percent), and those registered voters with school-aged children (81 percent).

North Carolinians support the opportunity to choose among a wide variety of schools. 50 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.” Support for school choice is strongest among African Americans (68 percent), women (56 percent), parents of school-aged children (52 percent) and those voters who politically identified themselves as Independents (61 percent).

North Carolinians 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, [and] in addition to local school boards, the law in North Carolina grants the University of North Carolina (UNC) the authority to approve the creation of charter schools, but it has not chosen to do so;” 48 percent of registered voters would support UNC if it began to approve and monitor charter schools in North Carolina.

North Carolina supports equitable funding of charter schools. Given that charter schools are public schools yet receive only 90 percent of the funding that all other public schools receive, 65 percent of those surveyed agreed that charters should be funded the same or more as all other public schools.

North Carolinians are highly aware of charter schools, but a majority still does not identify them as public schools. Of the 82 percent who said they know at least a little about charter schools, 42 percent correctly identified them as public schools. The majority identified charters as either private (25 percent), magnet (11 percent), religious (4 percent), something else (17 percent) or didn’t even venture a guess (1 percent).

*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 528 registered voters between June 20 and June 21, 2012. The margin of error for the North Carolina survey is +/- 4.2 percent.

For related press release, click here.

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