Black families support charter schools. Every survey I have ever seen that actually asked families found significantly more African American families supported charter schools than didn’t. I challenge someone to show me a respectable survey to the contrary. So why aren’t some of our civil rights organizations listening?
Broad, Consistent Support for Charter Schools
Every credible poll I have seen shows broad support for charter schools by African Americans. Don’t believe me—here are several—including the latest Education Next Survey.
Here’s another, and note that these are often conducted by advocacy organizations, but I still challenge someone to show me differently.
According to the TV One/RolandSMartin.com poll, 72 percent of African-American parents polled favored public charter schools, with 13 percent opposing the institution; 74 percent of those polled showed interest in enrolling their children in charter schools, with 18 percent saying they would not be interested. View the survey in its entirety at RolandSMartin.com.
Or this one from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Support was particularly strong in the Hispanic, black, and low-income communities, with 84% of Hispanics, 82% of blacks, and 86% of low-income respondents favoring public school choice. The overall support outweighed the opposition (17%) by almost five-to-one.
The numbers are clear.
Another Choice Amidst Limited Options
We often live in the most under resourced neighborhoods, with the most impacted schools. And if anyone thinks this doesn’t matter for the experiences of kids—just listen to the recent KQED series on segregation in Oakland schools.
Black families too often get the short end of the educational stick. We know this.
We also know charters aren’t perfect. In some cases they are better. In some cases they are worse. But when you are between the devil and the deep blue sea, sometimes you jump.
And our families are not under some mass hysteria, some Uncle Tom Stockholm Syndrome or a countrywide okey doke. The strength and consistency of the surveys shows this is real.
Schools are there primarily for the families, and for disadvantaged families that can’t move to better schools or go private. Those families should be the number one stakeholder and the loudest and most influential voices.
I wish some of our self-professed representatives would listen a little more and talk a little less.