AP-NORC poll: Most know little about charter schools

Photo Credit: The Odyssey Online

Photo Credit: The Odyssey Online

According to the Washington Post's Maria Danilova and Emily Swanson, a substantial amount of Americans, still do not know enough about charter schools, vouchers and the raging school choice debate. 

However, more Americans feel positively than negatively about expanding those programs, according to a new poll released Friday.

“I wonder what the fuss is about,” said Beverly Brown, 61, a retired grocery store worker in central Alabama. Brown, who doesn’t have children, says American schools need reform, but she is not familiar with specific school options and policies. “Educational standards have to be improved overall.”

All told, 58 percent of respondents say they know little or nothing at all about charter schools and 66 percent report the same about private school voucher programs, according to the poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Charters are schools funded by taxpayer money, but they operate independently of school districts and thus have more freedom in setting their curriculum and hiring staff. Vouchers are publicly funded scholarships given to low-income families to help cover tuition in private schools, including religious ones.

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