Header Image

Campaign Updates

| Advocating for Community Schools, Organizing for Education Justice

National Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Reigning in Charter Schools

New National Polling Shows Large Majorities of Voters Support Reforms to Address Fraud, Mismanagement, and Poor Academic Performance in Charter Schools


Washington, D.C.—As the number of charter schools continues to rise, few states are paying adequate attention to how to hold these schools accountable to parents, communities, and taxpayers. Now, new poll results released today by In the Public Interest and the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) show that Americans embrace proposals to reform the way charter schools are authorized and managed.

The poll shows overwhelming national support for initiatives to strengthen charter school accountability and transparency, improve teacher training and qualifications, prevent fraud, serve high-need students, and ensure that neighborhood public schools are not adversely affected.

“A severe lack of public oversight and real accountability has created what are essentially two separate school districts in many places, each competing for students and funding,” said Donald Cohen, Executive Director of In the Public Interest. “This is increasing inequality in public education, and these results confirm that parents and communities want to fix that.”

The poll’s key findings include:

  • Overwhelming majorities, as high as 92%, back proposals to strengthen transparency and accountability, improve teacher training and qualifications, implement anti-fraud measures, ensure high-need students are served, and make sure neighborhood public schools are not adversely affected.
  • 92% of voters support requiring companies and organizations that manage charter schools to open board meetings to parents and the public.
  • 90% of voters support requiring companies and organizations that manage charter schools to release to parents and the public how they spend taxpayer money.
  • “School choice” ranks last in a list of the biggest concerns voters have for K-12 education, with only 8% listing it as a concern.
  • Far more popular than “school choice” or unaccountable charter schools is the concept of community schools, which serve as community hubs, ensuring that every student and their family gets the opportunity to succeed no matter what zip code they live in.

A statewide poll of Colorado voters showed that 69% rate the quality of education at public schools in their neighborhood excellent or good—an even higher percentage than those that feel that way nationally. Colorado voters also overwhelmingly support proposals to reform the way charter schools are authorized and managed.

The national poll of 1,000 registered voters was conducted by GBA Strategies January 5-11, 2016 on behalf of In the Public Interest and CPD. A memo detailing the poll can be found here. The statewide poll of 500 registered voters in Colorado was conducted January 10-13, 2016. A memo detailing the Colorado poll can be found here.

Kyle Serrette, Director of Education at CPD, said, “State lawmakers have created charter laws without meaningful oversight provisions. The result? Over $100 million in taxpayer dollars have been lost to fraud, waste, or mismanagement by charter officials and over 100 thousand children currently attend charter schools that are failing to meet the needs of children. It’s time for lawmakers to add stronger oversight provisions before more money is lost and more children are enrolled in failing charter schools.”

For more information on the poll results, please contact Jeremy Mohler at jmohler@inthepublicinterest.org or 202-429-5091, or Asya Pikovsky at apikovsky@populardemocracy.org or 207-522-2442.

In the Public Interest is a research and policy center committed to promoting the values, vision, and agenda for the common good and democratic control of public goods and services.

The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) promotes equity, opportunity, and a dynamic democracy in partnership with innovative base-building organizations, organizing networks and alliances, and progressive unions across the country. CPD builds the strength and capacity of democratic organizations to envision and advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial justice agenda



Jeremy Mohler, jmohler@inthepublicinterest.org, 202-429-5091

Asya Pikovsky, apikovsky@populardemocracy.org, 207-522-2442