By Abdul-Hakim Shabazz & Andrew Weissert
A survey conducted by Indy Politics and ARW Strategies of registered voters in Marion County between August 13th and 23rd shows voters unimpressed with the direction of public schools in Marion County, supporting school choice, and largely concerned about their children’s safety as they return to the classroom as the pandemic carries on.
Just 27% of registered voters believe the public schools in Marion County are going in the right direction, while 38% say they’ve gotten off on the wrong track. Confidence in the school system is lowest among voters aged 50-64, with just 10% liking the direction of public schools. 17% of seniors said the public schools are heading in the right direction. Among voters aged 18-34 and 35-49 years of age, 36% and 41%, respectively, like the direction of the public school system. African American voters are more pessimistic on local schools as well. 45% say the public schools have gotten off on the wrong track, while just 24% believe they’re headed in the right direction.
There is a slightly more optimistic view of charter schools in Marion County with 34% believing they’re headed in the right direction and 23% saying they’ve gotten off on the wrong track. 43% indicate they’re unsure or don’t know.
Despite those views on the direction of local charter schools, a clear majority (59%) say they support school choice overall, with just 28% opposing it. Opposition to school choice is most pronounced with self-identifying Democrats with 31% opposing. However, a majority (54%) still support school choice.
Black parents felt better about the direction of charter schools than traditional public schools. Thirty percent thought charters were on the right track, while only 24% thought traditional public schools were on track.
Looking ahead to the upcoming school year, over three-quarters of parents with children in school are concerned about their children returning to the classroom while the pandemic is still going on. Overall, 81% of parents with children in school indicate some level of concern for their safety, with 50% very concerned. Just 18% say they’re unconcerned about the health and safety of their children.
“With parents expressing a loss of confidence in the direction of public schools in Marion County, it’s unsurprising to see an overwhelming number of parents concerned about the health and safety of their children,” said Andrew Weissert of ARW Strategies.
Tomorrow we look at COVID-19 and vaccinations.
Abdul-Hakim Shabazz is the editor and publisher of IndyPolitics.Org.
Andrew Weissert is the President of ARW Strategies.
This poll was conducted between August 13th and 23rd, 2021. In all, 400 interviews were achieved among registered voters in Marion County, Indiana. 200 of these responses came from text message surveys to cell phones and 200 of these responses came from online surveys. The Margin of Error for this survey is +/- 4.9% at a Confidence Interval of 95%.