Atlanta, GA; Tuesday, January 31, 2012 – A survey conducted last week by McLaughlin & Associates showed that Georgia voters strongly support charter schools and broadly favor a proposed Constitutional Amendment to allow charter schools to expand and flourish across the state.
The polling was conducted to gauge support for HR1162. The bi-partisan bill would amend the Georgia state Constitution to raise student achievement by allowing state and local approval of public charter schools.
As a result of a May 2011 Supreme Court decision which declared Georgia’s independent charter school authorizer unconstitutional, state law now gives exclusive control of charter schools to local school boards. Local boards have aggressively denied charter school petitions, seriously limiting the growth of this educational option.
Among voters polled, 62% support the proposed Constitutional Amendment and would vote “yes” if the election were held today, with another 17% undecided. This support is consistent across both political parties, with Republicans voting yes at 66%, Democrats at 58%, and independent voters at 62%.
Support for the amendment enjoys stronger than average support among African-American voters (65%) and Latino voters (75%) than it does among white voter (61%), indicating strong support for charter schools among minority respondents.
The survey also asked voters about their confidence in the ability of public charter schools to educate students. Results showed that Georgia voters have greater confidence in charter schools than they do in their local school system, the State of Georgia, or the United States Government when it comes to educating students.
Voters also strongly believe (86% yes) that education should be a partnership between the State of Georgia and local school districts (9% no).
“As Georgians learn more and more about the success of high performing charter schools, they want this option for their own children,” said Dr. Tony Roberts, CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association. “Unfortunately, there are not enough charter schools in Georgia to meet the demand. People are astounded to learn how many local school districts have denied well-thought out charter petitions with strong community backing. They have been rightly enraged when local districts have denied renewals to some of the top performing charter schools in the state. We need to change the law, and the Constitutional Amendment is the only way to do so.”
To gauge the electoral impact of the Constitutional Amendment, the survey also asked voters if they would be more likely to support a legislator who voted in favor of putting an Amendment on the ballot. 56% of respondents said they would be more likely to vote for a legislator who took this action, and 26% said it would make no difference.
The survey concluded that support for public charter schools in Georgia enjoys an unusually high level of support from Georgia voters, regardless of political party, race, ideology, gender or age.
Nina Rubin – Director of Communications
Georgia Charter Schools Association
600 W. Peachtree Street, Suite 1555
Atlanta, GA 30309
Follow us @GAChartersRock
The Georgia Charter Schools Association is a non-profit membership organization for Georgia’s charter school operators and petitioners. Our mission is to:
- Advance awareness of charter schools
- Communicate charter school needs to state and local officials and support legislation to strengthen charter schools in Georgia
- Build partnerships and collaborations and grassroots support for charter schools
- Develop programs and services that advance student achievement, school accountability and professional learning for charter school leaders