While Democrats are often thought of as opponents of school choice, new data show the story is not so simple: an examination of trends from 2016 through 2018 revealed that while white Democrats have grown staunchly opposed, their Black and Hispanic peers remain in favor of charter schools.
In an already hot 2020 campaign, charters have become targets for left-leaning candidates. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) in a speech Saturday called for an end to federal funding of for-profit charter schools, and a prohibition on funding of new charter schools, including not-for-profits. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) sided with Sanders, calling for-profit charters in particular “a real problem right now.”
Sanders and Warren are, broadly speaking, in line with the majority view of their party. Education Next, a pro-reform journal, has polled Americans on their views on charter schools since 2013, providing detailed data on party breakdown since 2015. Their polls indicate that charters are consistently more popular with Republicans than with Democrats, and that the schools have slipped to being net unfavorable with the latter group in recent years.