As National Charter Schools Week kicks off across the country, a new poll shows that Michigan voters strongly favor charter schools and school choice.
The poll, which was conducted Feb. 22-27 by the Marketing Resource Group (MRG), showed that 62 percent of Michigan voters have a favorable opinion of charter schools, while only 22.9 percent oppose them. MRG polled 600 likely voters, reaching respondents through a mix of both cellphones and landlines. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
The poll was commissioned by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), the state charter school association, which is releasing the results to coincide with National Charter Schools Week, May 1-7, 2016.
The MRG poll also showed that Michigan voters overwhelmingly favor school choice, with 85.5 percent of respondents saying they favor letting parents choose their child’s school. Only 9.5 percent of Michigan voters oppose school choice.
“The results of this poll are extremely significant,” said MAPSA President Dan Quisenberry. “Despite an all-out and coordinated attack on charter schools and choice over the past two years, Michigan voters continue to overwhelmingly favor them. They’ve seen through the smoke screen. Michigan residents continue to see that charter schools are making a difference. They’ve seen that accountability and innovation will lead to greater achievement, which is why charter schools are as popular as they are. Michigan voters overwhelmingly feel that parents, not politicians, should be deciding where children go to school.”
There are currently 300 charter schools in Michigan, educating about 10 percent of the state’s school-age population. Charter schools are especially popular in the state’s urban areas, including Detroit, where more than 50 percent of students attend a charter school.
The Michigan poll results mirror the results of national polls, which show that voters nationwide have a strongly favorable opinion of charter schools and choice. Poll results released last week by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools showed that nationwide, support for public school choice among parents outweighs opposition by an almost 5-to-1 margin (78 percent to 17 percent). Opposition to charter schools, specifically, remains at only 16 percent nationally.
Here are the exact questions asked of Michigan voters in the MRG poll:
As you may know, charter schools are independent public schools that offer parents an alternative to traditional public schools. Education advocates can organize charter schools as long as they receive approval and oversight from a public sponsor such as a school district or a university. Do you favor or oppose charter schools in Michigan?
STRONGLY FAVOR – 30.3%
SOMEWHAT FAVOR – 31.7%
NEITHER FAVOR/OPPOSE – 10.0%
SOMEWHAT OPPOSE – 10.7%
STRONGLY OPPOSE – 12.2%
DON’T KNOW/REFUSED – 5.2%
TOTAL FAVOR – 62.0%
TOTAL OPPOSE – 22.9%
Do you favor or oppose giving Michigan parents options when choosing a public school for their children?
STRONGLY FAVOR – 66.0%
SOMEWHAT FAVOR – 19.5%
NEITHER FAVOR/OPPOSE – 2.8%
SOMEWHAT OPPOSE – 4.2%
STRONGLY OPPOSE – 5.3%
DON’T KNOW/REFUSED – 2.2%
TOTAL FAVOR – 85.5%
TOTAL OPPOSE – 9.5%