February 09, 2023

NYSUT & UFT host press briefing on poll showing voters oppose charter school expansion; favor strengthening local public schools

Source:   NYSUT Media Relations
charter schools divide us

ALBANY, N.Y. Feb. 9, 2023 — New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers hosted a press briefing this afternoon to reveal new polling data about charter school issues. The poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates, shows that New York voters overwhelmingly oppose any expansion of charter schools and instead want elected officials to focus on programs that strengthen local public schools.

The press briefing was hosted by Andy Pallotta, president of New York State United Teachers and Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. Joining them was Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research Associates, who presented the detailed findings of the poll.

“We’ve seen immediate and broad pushback to the charter school proposal in the executive budget," says NYSUT president, Andy Pallotta. "Concerned citizens’ groups and lawmakers are rallying to oppose this move. And, as this poll now shows, it’s incredibly unpopular with New York voters.”

“It’s clear that parents and communities really don’t want an expansion of charters. They understand that the resources are being drained from public schools,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. “This is about corporate charter chains. They’re all about real estate and making profit. We never need that in education. Public schools take all children with open arms. That’s what we do. This is what public education is supposed to be about.”

Key takeaways from the poll include:

  • Seventy-nine (79) percent of voters say they oppose plans to increase the number of charter schools in New York and shift funding away from regular local public schools. Opposition was overwhelming – and consistent – among region; party affiliation and across racial groups. Among the findings, 85 percent of Democrats; 68 percent of Republicans; 77 percent of unaffiliated voters; 77 percent of Black voters; 81 percent of Hispanic voters and 79 percent of New York City voters reject expanding charters and siphoning money from their own local neighborhood public schools.
  • When asked about their top education priorities, 94 percent of voters want to see expanded literacy programs for struggling students; 92 percent want more access to career and technical programs that prepare students for jobs, and 88 percent would urge elected leaders to address shortages of teachers, counselors and nurses in public schools. Just 7 percent of voters listed expanding charters as one of their top two priorities.
  • By 79-20, voters say “strengthening regular local public schools and making sure that every neighborhood has a good local public school” is more important than “giving parents more choices … by increasing the number of charter schools.” Public school parents oppose charter expansion by a margin of 80-20.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.