As Sacred Heart University poll shows, Connecticut’s charters enjoy strong local support

A poll released last week from Sacred Heart University’s Institute of Public Policy proves what we’ve been saying about our state’s public charter schools all along: locally, Connecticut’s charter schools stand out for being community-centric and community-focused, resulting in strong local support for them.

The poll found that two-thirds of Connecticut residents “strongly” or “somewhat” support the formation of charter schools in the state. Another 43 percent support increasing funding for charter schools. The study also found that fewer than 10 percent strongly oppose the formation of charters.


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Source: Sacred Heart University

Notably, the poll found that nearly 70 percent of New Haven County residents support the formation of charter schools in their area. It’s unsurprising coming from the county that houses schools like Booker T. Washington Academy, a recently named School of Distinction that prides itself on its homegrown community roots, and Elm City Montessori, which remains the state’s sole local charter -- receiving funding and support from the New Haven Board of Education. New Haven County is also home to Common Ground High School, which takes food and produce harvested on its campus and shares it with the community it through universal free lunch, New Haven’s mobile market, on-site farm stands, farmer’s markets, and a farm share program for families. Along with Highville Charter School, Achievement First Amistad Academy and Elm City College Prep and Brass City Charter School in Waterbury, our state’s largest school district stands out for the ways in which charters are connected to the communities they serve.

And these schools, like all of our state’s charter schools, know all-too-well the challenges associated with unfair and inequitable funding. It’s good to know, then, that the poll found that more than 40 percent of residents also believe the state should increase funding for charter schools. As the poll’s results suggest, residents support investing in what’s working.

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Source: Sacred Heart University

We recently learned that the number of names on charter waitlists swelled from from just under 7,000 names in 2016 to more than 13,000 names in 2018. Yet our state hasn’t opened a new charter school since 2014 to accommodate this growing demand. It seems that this hasn’t gone unnoticed by Connecticut residents, as more than 40 percent of resident polled say the state should ease restrictions on charter school enrollment to accommodate kids on waitlists. We hope the narrative will soon change with the addition of the proposed Danbury Prospect Charter School and Norwalk Charter School for Excellence if approved later this year!

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Source: Sacred Heart University

Connecticut residents recognize that the state’s public charter schools contribute to the fabric of educational excellence in our state. And while some might be surprised by the findings of this poll, here at the Network we are not. Families continue to demand our state’s charter schools, schools continue to do a great job serving our kids, and they deserve continued support from our lawmakers and our communities.

Yamuna Menon
Yamuna (Yam) Menon is the Connecticut State Director of the Northeast Charter Schools Network
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As Sacred Heart University poll shows, Connecticut’s charters enjoy strong local support
As Sacred Heart University poll shows, Connecticut’s charters enjoy strong local support
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