By Troy Donte’ Prestwood
Black Alliance for Educational Options
WASHINGTON — Black voters overwhelmingly support providing parents with high-quality educational options that include a mix of traditional public, public charter and opportunity scholarships to attend private schools, according to a new survey released by the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO). The study provides a comprehensive look at the attitudes of black voters and their views on parental choice, education reform, Common Core and assessments.
The survey conducted in Alabama, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Tennessee reveals clear support for greater freedom in the K-12 education system with a noticeable majority supporting educational options in their school districts. There was also widespread recognition for the need for better quality schools, which includes ample support for charter schools and scholarships for low-income and working-class black families to have access to private schools. The survey also indicated solid support among black voters that believe educational standards such as Common Core and its related assessments are essential to holding education stakeholders responsible for student learning outcomes.
“This study provides an insightful observation on the views of black voters and how they are interested in hearing from candidates that have the most compelling educational reform policies in the upcoming election cycles,” said BAEO Interim President Jacqueline Cooper. “Black voters are looking for commitments from leaders who share their values to expand access to all kinds of educational options, including traditional public schools, public charter schools and private schools. There is no one single solution that will work for every state, city or district. Leaders need to engage with their communities to understand what will best serve low-income and working-class black families. In our experience, the best solutions will come from community engagement. Candidates should take notice.”
The survey polled 2,400 black voters in four states (600 in each state). Some of the overall findings include:
More than 90 percent of respondents in all four states say a candidate’s views on education are important to them before they vote;
Six in 10 support school vouchers to provide scholarships to send children to eligible private schools;
Seven out of 10 say they support providing parents with more educational choices in their local school districts;
The majority of voters surveyed support charter schools – more than 65 percent in Louisiana and Tennessee;
60 percent and higher say assessment testing is necessary to hold schools accountable; in Tennessee and Alabama that number increases to nearly 70 percent.
“When we see reading and math scores decline in both 4th and 8th grades in the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), we know that change is needed,” said BAEO Director of Policy and Research Tiffany Forrester. “And when we see 70percent support for more parent choice options such as high-quality traditional public, public charter and scholarship programs, it’s a strong indicator that Black voters know what they want for their children and are engaged in the education reform process.
The 2015 BAEO poll was conducted in August 2015 by JMC Analytics and Polling. The margin of error, with a 95 percent confidence interval, was 3.8 percent.
About the Black Alliance for Educational Options: The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) is a national non-profit education advocacy organization founded in 2000 by prominent Black educators, elected officials and civil rights activists. BAEO’s mission is to increase access to high-quality educational options for Black children by actively supporting transformational education reform initiatives and parental choice policies that empower low-income and working-class Black families. For more information on BAEO visit http://www.baeo.org.