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Teacher Unions losing power – Democrat dilemma over charter schools

  • January 26th, 2015

A Democrat aligned polling firm engaged by the major US charter school (and voucher) supporter group has found Democrat support for school choice. The teacher union stranglehold on education reform may be ending.

Unlike New Zealand, where party whips can force MPs to stick with policies they know voters don’t like, Democratic party discipline is unlikely to beat a major shift in sentiment. Teacher union funding of Democrats may delay, but it will not preserve the union ability to lock poor kids into poor schools (and accordingly into their birth class).

The release from Beck Research, a Democratic polling firm, reports that nearly 70 percent of Americans support the concept of school choice, 45 percent strongly support it, and only 27 percent oppose it.

From their press release:

“The findings of this poll reflect what we saw in the 2014 midterms and what I am seeing in communities across the country – a demand from parents for more options in deciding how their children are educated”. “Educational choice through opportunity scholarships and charter schools provide these options … educational choice is an immediate solution for parents’ who have children trapped in underperforming schools.

…other signs of school choice momentum – the resounding victories of prominent school choice advocates in the 2014 elections and a growing sense that national education unions are losing their influence with voters. Teachers unions spent at least $80 million in 2014 to express opposition to candidates supportive of such education reforms – and lost every race.

Deborah Beck of Beck Research said, “The poll clearly shows widespread support, among both political parties, for school choice. Any public official – or potential candidate for President — who ignores these numbers does so at their own peril.”

Key findings from poll:

  • 69 percent support the concept of school choice, including 45 percent who strongly support it, 27 percent oppose it.
  • 76 percent support public charter schools, with only 20 percent opposing it.
  • 54 percent of those surveyed believe that giving parents more choices of schools will improve the education system.
  • 65 percent believe choice and competition among schools improves education.
  • 62 percent believe we need to make major changes to the ways that public schools are run.

The poll also confirmed Hilary Clinton and Mitt Romney as the leading contenders for the Presidency, by a long shot

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