Education Next released its 2022 survey results earlier this week and the results are encouraging for the charter school community. This is the 16th annual Education Next survey, conducted among a representative sample of 1,784 American adults and gauging support on a variety of education-related issues ranging from school choice to universal pre-K.
The annual Education Next survey is a respected annual source of information about public opinion on issues that impact the education sector. Like many education advocacy organizations, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools does its own polling and data collection, and is pleased to see the results of the Education Next survey are consistent with many of our recent findings. There is reason to believe public support for school choice is growing.
Charter schools saw an overall increase in support among the general public based on the 2021 Education Next Survey results, with support highest among parents, Black respondents, and Republicans. In news that is not surprising to charter schools or their advocates, support increased most among parents and Black respondents, with parent support for charter schools increasing by 8% since 2021 and support among Black respondents increasing by 13%. Support was lowest among Democrats (38% supporting). Notably, 19% of all respondents neither support nor oppose charter schools while 36% oppose them.
Other encouraging results show that support for school accountability, a fundamental element of the charter school movement, remains strong with 72% support. This level of support was fairly consistent across all respondent groups, with the lowest level of support from parents (68% supporting) and the highest from Democrats (73% supporting).
Another result worth noting is that perceptions of school quality, locally and nationally, have declined. The percentage of respondents who gave the public schools in their community a grade of A or B declined from 55% in 2021 to 52% in 2022. Similarly, the percentage of respondents who would give nationwide public schools a grade of A or B declined from 24% to 22%.
In a separate survey capturing student experiences reported by parents, Education Next finds that, on many issues, charter school parents say their students are more satisfied with their educational experiences than parents of district students. This survey reached the parents of 3,204 students, 439 of which attend a charter school. Parents of 88% of those charter students say their students are somewhat or very satisfied with the instruction and activities provided by their child’s school compared to parents of 85% of district students. On the topic of learning loss, parents were asked whether they think their child is learning more, less, or about the same this school year as they would have learned if there had not been a pandemic.
Parents of 34% of charter school students said their student is learning somewhat or a lot more compared to 27% of district students. Parents of 39% of students in both sectors said their student is learning about the same. Finally, and perhaps most encouraging, is that parents of 51% of charter students said their student did not experience any learning losses, with only 39% of district students’ parents saying the same.
Read the full 2022 Education Next survey report for more of the findings.
Katherine Dammann is the senior director of policy at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.