Education emerging as key election issue, poll shows

A new Civitas poll shows parents are concerned about politics, safety in the classroom.
  • 82% of parents say they “would be willing to vote outside their political party based on the candidate’s education platform.”
  • Three-in-four parents say they would send their child to a public charter school if one was available in their area.
  • The full results the poll — which surveyed over 5,000 parents with children enrolled in K-12 schools — will be released later this summer.

A new poll from a national charter school group indicates that many parents could become single-issue voters on the topic of education.

The new Harris Poll, commissioned by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, found that 82% of parents say they “would be willing to vote outside their political party based on the candidate’s education platform.” Eight-three percent say education “has become a more important political issue” than it was in the past.

“The poll results are not surprising. Education enjoyed a central place in the Virginia gubernatorial election. And I really think it was a harbinger of things to come,” said Dr. Bob Luebke, senior fellow at the Center for Effective Education at the John Locke Foundation. “People from all sides of the political spectrum are dissatisfied with the public education and they want to do something about it.  Parents want more educational choices for their children. Charters are a great option. And the 60,000 charter school wait list tells you what parents think.”

Three-in-four parents say they would send their child to a public charter school if one was available in their area, according to the poll results. Parents also reported greater satisfaction with charter schools than with traditional public schools.

For parents who voted in federal, state, and local elections, education is the second most important issue at 55%, behind taxes at 56%. Fifty-three percent said the economy, 33% healthcare, and 24% abortion.

The full results the poll — which surveyed over 5,000 parents with children enrolled in K-12 schools — will be released later this summer.

“Public charter schools are part of the public school family,” said Lindalyn Kakadelis, executive director of the North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools. “These national poll results track what we’re seeing in North Carolina: Parents from all backgrounds support the chance to choose a school that’s best for their children.”

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