The majority of U.S. parents would consider voting for another political party on the basis of shared education values, a new survey revealed.
The survey, commissioned by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and conducted by the Harris Poll, found that 82% of parents may support a candidate from another political party if that candidate's education platform was aligned with their views.
The results were consistent across party lines, with 88% of independents, 81% of Democrats, and 79% of Republicans saying education issues could make them support a candidate of a different political party, The Washington Examiner reported.
“Charter schools and parent choice have long enjoyed bipartisan support from lawmakers," Nina Rees, the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said in a press release. "This poll clearly shows support for education options is stronger than ever among parents, regardless of their political party ... the education voter is the new swing voter.”
The poll, which surveyed 5,002 U.S. parents, also found that 83% considered education to be a more important issue to them politically than it had in the past, including 45% of Black parents who indicated they felt strongly about the issue.
Additionally, the poll found widespread support for public charter schools, with 84% indicating that they supported the availability of public charter schools, whether or not they would send their child to a charter school.
Charter schools are K-12 public schools with greater policy discretion than traditional K-12 public schools regarding school curriculum, finance, governance, operations, and personnel.
Initial charter school proponents, including Ray Budde and former American Federation of Teachers President Albert Shanker, proposed the idea of charter schools as laboratories for teachers to experiment with school curriculum and pedagogy to identify best practices to improve traditional public schools and student performance.
Charter schools could also enable parents to choose a school that caters to their child’s academic needs, incentivizing competition among public schools for student enrollment, according to the Brookings Institution.
Democrat voters are divided on charter schools, with Black and Hispanic Democrats more likely to support charter schools than white Democrat voters, the Brookings Institute noted.
The National Alliance of Public Charter Schools is spearheading efforts opposing the Biden administration's rewrite of Department of Education regulations on the disbursement of federal charter school funds.
The proposed regulation, first announced in March, would substantially tighten the rules around which public charter schools would be eligible for federal funding, The Washington Times noted. Critics have said the rules are onerous and could force hundreds of schools to close permanently, according to The Washington Times.
The Harris Poll research was conducted online on behalf of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) among 5,002 parents with school-aged children. The survey was conducted May 19-31.