African American Parents in NC Support School Choice, Survey Shows

(Photo: Pexels, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Pexels, Creative Commons)

A new report from Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina takes a closer look at whether African-American voters in the state truly support school choice.

The poll, "Where Do North Carolina African American Voters Stand on Parental School Choice?" found that support for school choice enhances the appeal of a political candidate. In all, 65% of participating African-American voters reported being more likely to support a candidate who supports offering additional educational options to parents. However, 82% said state lawmakers need to do more in terms of offering families more educational options for their children. Meanwhile, 10% said enough is being done, and 7% were not sure.

In all, 59% of participants said they support school choice, while 53% said they would be more likely to support a candidate for the state legislature if they knew that they agreed with school choice.

In addition, almost six out of ten support the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which offers parents the ability to use the tax dollars associated with their child's education in order to send them to the public or private school that best able to handle their needs. The program will be used by 6,200 low-income students this fall.

A total of 65% said they would apply for the scholarship if they were eligible. More than 22,000 applications have been received for the scholarship program.

Because of the high demand, the North Carolina State Senate is looking to expand the program over the next decade. Students who enter the program in kindergarten will be able to complete their K-12 education with the use of the scholarship. Close to 36,000 low-income students will be able to enroll in private schools over the next ten years. When told of this possibility, 59% of participants said they support such legislation.

"Living in a rural area can pose challenges for parents who are trying to provide the best for their children academically. Whereas the system usually determines where children go to school, geography doesn't constrain our family. The availability of a public charter school nearby has given us freedom and flexibility that we otherwise would not have. Our children are thriving at their public charter school and we truly love everyone who dedicates their life to teaching and nurturing our children," said public charter school parents Nikitta and Lou Grillo.

More than half, 56%, said they support public charter schools in the state.

In all, 58% believed they pay close attention to issues that involve kindergarten to 12th grade education. Meanwhile, 52% said educational choice helps students and saves taxpayers money, while 34% said it takes away from public schools, and 14% were not sure.

In conjunction with American Federation for Children, the poll surveyed 800 likely African-American voters in North Carolina between June 20 and 28, 2016. Surveys were conducted via cell phone and home phone interviews. Those who answered a home phone, 68% of respondents, participated through a recorded voice. Meanwhile, cell phone respondents, 32% of likely voters, were shown an HTML questionnaire, either on their phone, laptop, tablet, or other electronic device.

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