St. Louis Voters Support School Choice
The Missouri Association for Public Charter Schools has released a new poll measuring the opinions of voters in St. Louis.
The online survey, conducted by Change Research, surveyed 614 St. Louisans in February of 2021 and asked them a battery of questions about their opinions on education in St. Louis.
- 57 percent of voters in St. Louis say that public education is on the wrong track.
- 87 percent of voters earning less than $30,000 per year say that education in St. Louis needs to change “somewhat” or “a lot.”
- 92 percent of voters who earn between $30,000 and $50,000 say that education in St. Louis needs to change “somewhat” or “a lot.”
- 90 percent of voters say that it is “somewhat important” or “very important” that parents be able to pick their children’s school.
- Charter schools have a 21-point favorability advantage over traditional public schools in St. Louis.
- Interestingly, when asked about some basic facts of charter schools (respondents were asked whether statements such as “charter public schools are free” or “charter public schools are public” were correct or incorrect) lower-income St. Louis voters were more likely to get the answers right than higher-income voters.
- 58 percent of respondents disagree with the statement “Public district schools in St. Louis are serving Black students well.” Only 25 percent of respondents agreed.
- 39 percent of voters said that they were more likely to support a candidate who supports opening more charter schools while only 26 percent said that they would be less likely to support a candidate who supports opening more charter schools.
Voters know the score. Public education in St. Louis is not working for thousands of families. Parents should have more choice in where their children attend school.
That said, it is quite interesting that higher-income St. Louisans were more likely to not understand basic facts about charter schools. It would be a shame if their ignorance created political headwinds for solutions that their lower-income neighbors want and need.
How will this sentiment translate into policy? We don’t know. But, hopefully, civic leaders will respond to the needs and wants of their voters.