This Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re putting the spotlight on Hispanic support for charter schools across America. Charter schools have always been of high interest for Hispanic families and these unique public schools serve Hispanic students well.
During the pandemic, parents in other demographics had the opportunity to see their child’s education firsthand and are now making many of the same choices Hispanic parents had made all along.
Here’s what the data show in terms of support for charter schools in Hispanic communities:
1. Hispanic families choose charter schools at higher rates than they do district schools, if given the option
Hispanic families were some of the earliest adopters in making an intentional choice in their children’s choice of school—and they continue to do so. According to recent polling from The Harris Poll, the percent of Hispanic parents who reported they switched school types remained consistent (17%) before and during the pandemic. In contrast, white and Black parents have only recently caught up to Hispanic families in terms of rates of switching school types.
Hispanic enrollment in charter schools has shown dramatic and consistent growth and is now the largest demographic group at almost 35% of all students in the 2019-20 school year. In comparison, Hispanic students make up 27% of all students at district schools. Charter schools also serve a higher proportion of English learners—many of whom are Hispanic—compared to district schools, 14% versus 12% as of the most recent data year.
2. Hispanic parents feel strongly about public school options
In addition to putting their own kids in charter schools, Hispanic families also believe in making educational choices more available to all kids. Here are just a few things Hispanic parents communicated during recent 2022 polling from The Harris Poll:
- 83% of Hispanic parents support expanding the number of slots in existing public charter school in their area
- 63% of Hispanic parents strongly agree that parents should be able to have a choice in where their children go to school
- 54% of Hispanic parents strongly agree that they think having more than one type of public school option is a good thing
Even before the pandemic, Hispanic support for charter schools was high. A summer 2019 poll of likely Democratic primary voters found that Hispanic respondents were more likely than white respondents to hold favorable opinions of public charter schools (66% versus 44%).
3. Charter schools spur academic achievement for Hispanic students
According to the 2015 report from Stanford University, charter schools help their Hispanic students achieve academic success. Urban charter schools generate learning growth equivalent to 22 extra days of learning in math and 6 extra days in reading. For low-income Hispanic students, these numbers rise to 48 extra days in math and 25 extra days in reading.
Melinda Tolliver is the director of digital strategy at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.