A survey released by The Black Alliance for Educational Options reveals the thoughts of Black adults concerning parental choice and education reform. "A Survey Report on Education Reform, Charter Schools and the desire for Parental Choice in the Black Community" was conducted in March, and participants included 2,000 Black registered voters who were randomly selected from four southern states.
The results show that 85-87% of parents in each state agree that the government should give parents as much choice as possible to ensure the best education for their children. 55-58% in each state (and 73% in New Orleans) said if given the choice they would not send their child to the public school they are currently enrolled in, and at least 50% of parents in each state (seven in ten in Mississippi) support charter schools.
"The survey data supports the fundamental appeal of parent choice and transformational education reform as options within the Black community," said BAEO president Kenneth L. Campbell. "Choice means freedom — the freedom to do what's best for your child, the freedom that comes with open opportunity — and we've been fighting for freedom for more than 200 years. The data clearly shows that the time has come for us to stand up and fight for the choices and freedoms that we want for ourselves and our children."
Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi were selected by BAEO for the survey because of the high number of low-income and working class Black families who could benefit from parental choice policies and more charter school options.
A desire for more educational options is apparent from the results of the survey. In Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi 71-80% of Black voters expressed support for charter schools since they can give more opportunities to Black students stuck in failing schools. 77% of Black parents in Louisiana expressed support for vouchers after hearing that they give low-income black students the opportunity to attend schools they otherwise would not be able to afford.
The majority of the respondents were unsatisfied with their child's school and would send their kids to other schools if they could. Even 36% of people who rated their school as excellent would opt to send their child to another school if it was free.
Kentucky and Alabama are two of eight states that do not have charter laws in place. The majority of people from all states polled supported publicly funded scholarships and charter schools as means of reform.
"The need for transformational education reform is critical to the success of our communities," said Campbell. "This study shows that it is imperative that we find immediate, sustainable solutions for our children in order for them to succeed and escape the perilous cycles that our communities have been in for far too long."