Hot off the presses!
A recent survey of Bernalillo County residents, conducted by Research & Polling Inc. near the end of 2020, shows overwhelming public support for the opening and expansion of public charter schools – across all age groups, income and education levels, ethnicities, geographic regions, and party affiliations. Three-fourths of Bernalillo County residents support the continued development and opening of charter schools in the state, while just 14% said they do not support the opening and expansion of charter schools.
Importantly, support was even higher among parents with children under the age of 18, regardless of what kind of school their children attend: 87% of parents with children who attend traditional public schools support developing more charter options, a position shared by 95% of parents whose children attend charter schools and 85% of parents whose children attend private schools.
Support for public charter school expansion was particularly strong among other groups as well, regardless of whether they have school-age children – 87% of people earning between $35,000 and $50,000 each year, 84% of those who live in the Valley/Downtown area and 78% of those who live on the Westside, 83% of people with a high school diploma or less, and 80% of Hispanics all expressed support for opening more charters. An almost identical share of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents support charter school expansion as well: 76%, 78%, and 76%, respectively. Even two-thirds of respondents from union households support opening more charter schools.
“Every child should have access to a high-quality public school, and public charter schools are an important component of making that goal a reality, said Peter Lorenz, CEO of Unirac, Inc. and chair of the Chamber’s Education Reform Bold Issue Group. “Parents and kids need to have more public school options, which can and should certainly come in the form of new high-quality charter schools and the expansion of great, existing charters.”
Similarly, strong majorities of those surveyed said they oppose policies that would restrict charter school growth, like moratoria and enrollment caps. For example, 68% of Bernalillo County residents would oppose a state law stopping the opening of any new charter school in New Mexico for several years. Opposition is higher among parents of school-age children – 76% of parents of kids under the age of 18 oppose this policy.
Survey results also show that nearly 80% of residents believe charter schools improve public education in our city and our state. That number rises to 85% among parents of children under 18.
“We congratulate our community’s charter leaders,” said GACC President and CEO Terri Cole. “Our residents are clearly embracing their schools as potential options for the children of our community – and we know that a great education matters so much to their future success and the success of our economy.”
The Chamber, through its Education Reform policy committee – one of its three Bold Issue Groups (BIGs) – advocates for making a high-quality public education available to EVERY CHILD in New Mexico, regardless of their background. As part of this work, we support providing more public school options to students, including the opening of new charter schools and the expansion of currently operating charter schools with track records of strong student outcomes.
In recent years, the Chamber has actively helped and supported the launch and/or expansion of seven charter schools in the Albuquerque area – and will continue to advocate for high-quality public school options that can prepare New Mexico’s students for lifelong success.