October 1, 2019

New Poll of Newark Voters Shows Strong Support for School Improvement

Poll Shows Newarkers Feel Public Schools Are Improving, Strongly Support Charter Schools and Parent Choice

View Poll Results Here: http://bit.ly/2oYsEb3

NEWARK – According to a new poll from Change Research and the New Jersey Children’s Foundation, Newark voters strongly support many of the improvements that have taken place in the City, and want to see more of them. 

Key findings from the poll include:

  • Newarkers want more quality school options. Nearly 90% of Newark voters agree (with two-thirds of all voters in strong agreement) that families should have even more quality school options, including public charter schools. 
  • Newarkers strongly support public charter schools. 63% of voters see public charter schools as an important part of the city’s public school landscape. Support for public charter schools is fueled by families, demonstrated by the positive responses of 68% of women, 68% of African American voters and 68% of voters with a child or children enrolled in grades K-12. 
  • Newarkers strongly support universal enrollment. 87% of voters believe parents should be able to choose the best public school for their children in the same enrollment system, including public charter schools.
  • Newarkers believe their public schools are improving. 38% of voters feel that there are more quality schools available to families in 2019, compared with just 21% who believe there are fewer. This support is felt most strongly among 18-34 year old voters, who are most likely to have experienced Newark’s school improvement firsthand, and African-American voters.
  • Three issues stand out as top-tier concerns for Newarkers: lack of funding (46%), school performance (“Poor performance” at 39% and “Not enough great schools” at 33%), and school safety (36%). 

“Contrary to what you might hear in the national narrative, there is a lot of public support for the historic progress Newark has made. Newark voters are still looking for more quality public school options, and they broadly support public charter schools as part of the solution,” said Kyle Rosenkrans, Executive Director of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation. “We should trust the opinions of the people living in our communities and experiencing our school system every day over the opinions of national pundits.”

The poll also tested attitudes on a number of education issues currently being discussed in Newark, including school facilities, the city’s new teachers contract, and magnet schools. 

  • Newarkers want investments to improve school facilities. Nearly 60% of voters say Newark’s school facilities are in “not so good” or “poor” condition. Newark’s leaders recently called for more than $300 million to repair Newark’s school buildings and 90% of voters would support that public investment. Additionally, a strong majority (56%) of voters support allowing public charter schools to access school buildings across Newark that are currently underused. 
  • A narrow majority (51%) of voters support the teacher pay changes in the city’s new teachers’ contract, which increased teacher salaries, but eliminated bonuses for the city’s highest rated teachers.
  • The vast majority of voters (70%) agree that magnet schools that under-enroll African American students should be forced to enroll a student body that is more representative.

This poll builds on the New Baseline report released by MarGrady Research and the New Jersey Children’s Foundation this spring, which showed significant improvement made in Newark’s public schools (both district and charter) from 2006-2018. Data from the Change Research poll builds on this research, proving that not only are Newark’s changes delivering a better quality school system for students, but Newarkers are largely supportive of many of these changes and recognize they have been beneficial to families.

Change Research conducted an online poll in Newark, New Jersey from September 6-9, 2019. Using its Bias Correct Engine to attain a sample reflective of the city’s electorate, Change Research polled 516 registered voters. Post-stratification was performed on age, gender, ethnicity, and 2016 Presidential vote. 

About the New Jersey Children’s Foundation: The New Jersey Children’s Foundation is a new, non-profit organization aimed at promoting a fact-based discussion about public education in Newark. Our mission is to invest in people, programs, and partnerships that will improve public education systems by putting the interests of children first. Our vision is that every child will break down the walls of inequity through the creation of high-quality public education systems. Our theory of change is that when communities are armed with accurate information about public education and given the tools to act, cities will demand great schools for every student.

About Change Research: Change Research provides fast, affordable, and accurate technology-based polling to forward-thinking campaigns and causes across the country. Since launching in July of 2017, Change Research has conducted nearly 600 polls for candidates, campaigns, and causes at all levels and budgets. From seats in city councils and Congress, to Democratic movements in rural Oklahoma and Colorado, to up-and-coming candidates in Florida and Illinois and swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, Change Research’s innovative and data science approach to polling provides winning insights. Change Research is a Public Benefit Corporation. Learn more at www.changeresearch.com and follow @changepolls.