Los Angeles voters strongly support public school choice for families; cite education as most important issue the city faces

October 12, 2015

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Contact: Stefan Friedman, sfriedman@mercuryllc.com

By a wide margin, Angelenos support expanding access to high-quality charter public schools and magnet schools

A joint release by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and CCSA

(LOS ANGELES) Eighty-seven percent of Los Angeles residents support improving the public education system, nearly three in four favor expanding charter public schools and 69 percent want more charter public schools in their neighborhoods, a new poll of 1,150 Los Angeles voters released today showed.

The poll, commissioned by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the California Charter School Association (CCSA), offered insight into how parents and voters view public schools in Los Angeles as The Broad Foundation and others including CCSA continue to solicit input on how best to increase access for families seeking high-quality public schools.

Among the most notable findings:

  • 74 percent of voters living within the Los Angeles Unified School District support the expansion of charter public schools in neighborhoods where existing schools are struggling.
  • 87 percent of respondents support "reforming the public education system" in Los Angeles.
  • 88 percent of respondents favor investing in district schools through proven programs like magnet schools.
  • 69 percent of respondents want additional charter public schools in their own neighborhoods.
  • 88 percent of respondents 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," said Gregory McGinity, co-executive director at The Broad Foundation. "The Broad Foundation is committed to working with Los Angeles families to improve public educational opportunities for all students."

Local education remains critically important to voters, who cited the issue as the most important facing Los Angeles, above job creation, crime and infrastructure.

"Despite modest improvements in local education over the past decade, we remain far from the goal of providing high-quality public education for all students," said Myrna Castrej├│n, acting chief executive officer of the California Charter Schools Association. "We enthusiastically support efforts that will turn the dream of educational equity into reality."

Respondents also offered their reasoning for approving charter public schools in an open-ended format. One respondent in the Northeast San Fernando Valley said, "Charter schools have a better understanding about what education is. There is not a lot of bureaucracy. They teach the students what they have to learn. They have a better outcome and the children are better prepared than the students in non-charter schools."

A respondent in South Los Angeles stated, "Charter schools actually focus more on education, not politics. I am for education. I have children who attended both."

The poll was conducted by Mercury Public Affairs from September 20 to October 1. The telephone poll was conducted on both landline and cell phones in both English and Spanish. It surveyed 1,150 voters throughout communities within the Los Angeles Unified School District, 400 interviews conducted district-wide in addition to 350 interviews in South L.A. and 400 interviews in East L.A., Southeast L.A. and the Northeast San Fernando Valley. The regional oversamples were combined into the district-wide sample, weighted down to their proportional contribution to the population of the L.A. Unified School District. The margin of error of the poll was ┬▒2.9 percent.

See a copy of the poll.

Founded by entrepreneur Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, both graduates of Detroit Public Schools, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a philanthropy that seeks to ensure that every student in an urban public school has the opportunity to succeed. Bringing together top education experts and practitioners, more the foundation funds system-wide programs and policies that strengthen public schools by creating environments that allow good teachers to do great work and enable students of all backgrounds to learn and thrive. For more information, visit www.broadeducation.org.

The California Charter Schools Association's vision is to increase student learning by growing the number of families choosing high quality charter public schools so that no child is denied the right to a great public education. Our mission is to ensure a million students attend charter public schools by 2022, with charter public schools outperforming non-charter public schools on every measure. We do this by serving as the advocacy organization that builds the policy environment needed to grow as quickly as possible the number of students attending high quality charter public schools. For more information, please visit our website at www.ccsa.org.