Plurality of African Americans do not believe public schools are successfully educating students

Public schools are not successfully educating students to do grade-level reading and math and are not preparing them for future success, according to a national survey of African American voters commissioned by TakeCharge and shared with American Experiment.

The September poll asked 396 African American respondents — of whom 78 percent identified with the Democratic Party — to indicate if they agreed with, disagreed with, or had no opinion on the statement that “public schools are successfully educating our children to read at their grade levels, to be proficient at math,” and are “preparing them for future success.”

A plurality (48.3 percent) disagreed, with 27.2 percent agreeing and 34.6 percent having no opinion.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents (64.6 percent) believe parents should have the ability to choose the best school for their children and that funding should follow their student to the school they choose. This sentiment held true across all ages, regions and party affiliations surveyed.

(Respondent details: 65 percent female, 35 percent male; 9 percent under age 34, 27 percent between ages 35 and 55, 20 percent between ages 55 and 64, 44 percent over age 65; 78 percent identified with the Democratic Party, 18 percent with the Republican Party, and 4 percent selected “other.” Margin of error +/-5.00 percent.)

Other national polling from this year has also found growing support for school choice across party lines and demographics.

Attempts to fund students over systems in Minnesota and remove the financial barriers keeping families from accessing the learning environment that best meets their children’s needs have been previously blocked by DFL leadership and Gov. Tim Walz. Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers’ union, has also stood in the way of such education reforms.

It is no secret that many families — particularly families of color — have long wearied of the shortcomings of their neighborhood school district and are in search of learning environments that prioritize the academic and safety needs of their students. Education is a civil right, and parents’ ability to choose the best educational opportunity for their children has been undermined by supporters of the status quo and impeded by financial barriers for far too long. When will their voices finally be heard?