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Broad poll finds large majorities favor LAUSD charter expansion

LA School Report | October 12, 2015

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poll-clipart-polls-hiNearly 90 percent of Los Angeles residents support improving the city’s public education system, and almost three quarters of them favor expanding charter public schools, according to a poll commissioned by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) released this morning.

Conducted over 10 days through Oct. 1, the poll comes as tension over charters is rising within LA Unified, spurred by a report from the Broad Foundation, describing a plan to create enough charter schools to serve half the student population of LA Unified within eight years. The estimated cost of the effort is $490 million.

As the poll shows, the plan reflects wide support among families who want more educational choices for their children, especially those attending under-performing schools. At the same time, it has been sharply criticized by the teachers union, UTLA, and others as an attack on public education, a strategy that drains public funds from the district at the cost of jobs and programs.

The teachers union is planning to protest the plan tomorrow outside district headquarters as the school board meets inside.

While the results of the poll are noteworthy for the margins of support for charters and more of them, it was, nonetheless, conducted on behalf of a leading national education reform organization that is the chief architect of the charter expansion plans for LA Unified.

Among the most notable findings of the poll, which reached 1,150 voters within the district in English and Spanish on landline and cell phones, were these:

  • 74 percent of respondents support the expansion of charter public schools in neighborhoods where existing schools are struggling.
  • 87 percent support “reforming the public education system” in Los Angeles.
  • 88 percent  favor investing in district schools through proven programs like magnet schools.
  • 69 percent want additional charter public schools in their own neighborhoods.
  • 88 percent support making sure every student in a district with an underperforming public school has a choice of attending a higher performing public school.

“These results make it clear that residents throughout Los Angeles are eager to expand opportunity for students, regardless of whether it comes from charter, magnet or traditional public schools,” Gregory McGinity, co-executive director at the Broad Foundation, said in a statement. “The Broad Foundation is committed to working with Los Angeles families to improve public educational opportunities for all students.”

The margin of error of the poll was plus or minus 2.9 percent.


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