Skip To Content

New Statewide Poll Finds Majority of Voters Say the Quality of California’s Public Education Is Worsening, Want More Public School Choices

July 20, 2023

85% of voters believe parents should have the right to choose a charter if they think it is better for their child

Los Angeles – According to a new statewide poll conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, six out of 10 California voters are calling for major change to the state’s public education system. In addition, the study finds parents want more public education choice and support for charter public schools is at all-time high.

The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) commissioned the poll to better understand public sentiment about the state’s K-12 system and what parents find most important in their child’s public education. The findings offer state policymakers valuable insight into the minds of voters as the Golden State continues to recover from the academic impact caused by the pandemic.

“This survey offers a pulse check on how voters, in particular parents, view our public education system, and it’s clear that they want major change and more public school choices,” said CCSA President and CEO Myrna Castrejón. “Education and policy leaders across the state must demonstrate that they are listening and taking action to address these concerns.”

Poll toplines include:

Voters continue to call for change to California’s public education system and believe the quality of public education is getting worse:

  • The proportion of voters who say that the quality of education in California public schools is “getting worse” has grown by 13 points to 51% since 2020.
  • 60% of voters say “major changes” are needed within California’s public education system.

Awareness and favorable attitudes for charter public schools are at all-time high:

  • 57% of California voters support charter public schools, up from 47% in 2020.
  • 69% now say they know “quite a bit or some” about charter public schools, up from 57% in 2020.
  • 85% of voters believe that parents should have the right to choose a charter public school if they think it is better for their child.
  • 67% agree that charter public schools offer a high quality of education.
  • 65% of parents would consider enrolling their child in a charter public school.
  • 53% say charter public schools do a better job educating students than traditional district schools.

“Voters recognize that charter public schools are reimagining public education by providing students with high-quality educational opportunities and programs that meet their unique needs to succeed. The flexibility and autonomy that is the hallmark of charter public schools are attractive to parents looking for more options for their kids’ education,” said Castrejón.

Parents Say Gun Violence Prevention, Not Book Banning Should Be Top Priority

  • 82% of parents say “keeping students safe from gun violence” should be an extremely high priority for the state of California.
  • 65% of parents say “bullying” should be a priority, followed by “raising teacher salaries” at 51%.
  • Parents were least concerned about “regulating or banning material or books” with just 33% of parents saying it should be a priority.

About the Survey

Goodwin Simon Strategic Research conducted 804 interviews online and by telephone with California registered voters between June 20, 2023, and June 28, 2023.  Interviews were completed in English and Spanish. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.


About CCSA

The vision of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) is to build great public schools of joy and rigor that prepare all California students for success in college, career, community, and life. The mission of CCSA is to meet parent, educator, and community need for great public school options by supporting and advocating for high quality non-profit charter schools and sharing their success throughout California’s public schools. Learn more.