HARRISBURG, Pa—May 28, 2013—A new poll shows 62 percent of Pennsylvania’s registered – and likely – voters have favorable impressions of the concept ofparental choice in public education.

The poll, conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research in Harrisburg, also shows 87 percent of those polled believe parents should have the option to determine the type of public school that would best serve their child’s needs.

“There is no question that Pennsylvania families and taxpayers support public school choice for parents,” said Robert Fayfich, executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools.

Support for both public charter schools and public cyber charter schools continues to rise in Pennsylvania, according to the poll. While 61 percent of voters in 2005 supported the use of charter schools as an option for students in the public school system, the support for charter schools now stands at 70 percent, a 9 percent rise, and has increased every year that polling has been conducted. Conversely, the opposition to charter schools has shrunk, from 28 percent in 2005 to 21 percent now.

Support for cyber charter schools has risen at a similar rate. While 49 percent of voters favored cyber schools as an alternative in 2005, the support now stands at 58 percent. That includes a 6 percent jump from the last poll in 2011. Opposition to public cyber schools has dropped from 39 percent in 2005 to 32 percent now.

“Current legislation in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate that proposes to gut cyber charter school funding is ill-advised in light of strong public support by Pennsylvania’s taxpayers for a continuation of these schools,” said Fayfich.

Other notable findings:

–A majority of voters (63 percent) believe the public school a child attends should not be determined by where the family lives.

–An overwhelming majority of voters (70 percent) believe a child’s school should not be determined by the decision of school district administrators.

–Voters said they would be more inclined to support charter schools (68 percent) and cyber schools (57 percent) if they understood that charter school students are required to meet the same standards and take the same tests as students enrolled in traditional public schools, with oversight provided by either the state or local school districts. Both figures represent increases from 2011.

–Of those polled, 64 percent believe public cyber charter schools are either a good option for students and should be available, or they are the future source of public education.

–Lack of funding for schools and property/school taxes ranked second as the single-most important problem facing Pennsylvania today, behind only the subject of “jobs.” Twenty-two percent of those polled are most concerned with the lack of funding for schools and property/school taxes, while 25 percent are concerned about jobs.

–While 35 percent of those polled said they think unfavorably of cyber schools, 87 percent believe parents should have the choice of where to educate their child.

–Seventy-one percent of those polled believe cyber schools are a good alternative for students who have been bullied, have fallen behind in a traditional school or have special needs.

The poll was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools. Completed interviews were conducted May 6 through 11 with 700 registered and likely voters via cell phone and landline communications.

The margin of error for a sample size of 700 is +/-3.7% at the 95% confidence level.



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