REPORTS & SURVEYS | FEBRUARY 24TH, 2014

Stakeholder Starting Points

What about charters, choice, and closing failing schools?

Local Leaders
& Administrators

Surveys suggest that 77% of school administrators oppose the idea of charter schools, and 81% wouldn’t support a new charter school in their community. Many of our interviewees expressed fear that the focus on choice and charters displaces a much-needed conversation about other educational priorities and values. Some suggest that funding for charters is unfair. A South Carolina superintendent said: “I have some grave concerns about the whole hog, open-door approach to charters. I think there are places where it works, but I don't think it's a panacea.”

Classroom
Teachers

Public school teachers are divided in their views on charter schools. About 7 in 10 say they would prefer to teach in a regular public school as opposed to a private or public charter school, although about half say they might be interested in working in a charter run by teachers themselves. Other studies suggest that public charter school teachers are more likely to leave their school than those in traditional public schools and to leave teaching entirely. Interestingly, there appears to be little research on teachers’ views on school choice or the idea of closing poorly performing schools.

Parents & The Broader Public
Most Americans have positive views of public charter schools and parents in focus groups often have positive personal experiences with them. But there are reservations about closing schools, and many believe it would be better to try to improve troubled schools rather than close them. In districts where schools have been closed, citizens often said they felt pushed out of these decisions. A Chicago-area parent said: “It was like they already knew what they were going to do with this school. It didn’t matter if you stood up and fought.”





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