October 21, 2015

Press Release: New Poll Shows Alderman Sawyer Out of Touch with Constituents


CHICAGO – A new survey of likely voters in Chicago’s 6th Aldermanic Ward finds impressive support for charter public schools in Chicago. These findings by Lincoln Park Strategies suggest that Alderman Roderick Sawyer is out of touch with his constituents’ needs considering he recently sponsored a resolution seeking to ban the creation of charter schools in Chicago.

The poll’s key findings include:

  • Nearly three-quarters of voters, or 73%, in the 6th ward support parents having the option to send their children to charter public schools in Chicago.
  • The highest levels of support for charters came from voters under the age of 45 (78%), voters in the northern and western areas of the 6th ward (78%), and those with children (75%).
  • However, support never dips below two-thirds of any cohort, and even 67% of voters over age 65, those with the least direct connection to schools, support charter schools.
  • 66% of those who oppose the moratorium would be much less likely to vote for Alderman Sawyer if he runs for re-election.

Click here to view Lincoln Park Strategies’ memo.

“All children in Chicago deserve access to high quality schools and the preparation needed to succeed in college, career, and life –no matter their zip code, ethnicity, income level, or family background,” said Jelani McEwen, Director of External Affairs for INCS Action. “Alderman Sawyer’s resolution is misguided and puts on hold the hopes of thousands of Chicago families. Over 60,000 Chicago parents, including over a thousand from Chicago’s 6th aldermanic ward, have chosen to send their children to charter schools. These findings show that Sawyer’s constituents want charter schools, yet Alderman Sawyer has chosen to disregard their needs.”

Yesterday, dozens of Chicago charter school parents and advocates gathered in front of Alderman Sawyer’s office in the 6th ward to oppose his resolution. “It’s unfortunate that this has become about politics and not about how to improve our schools in our communities. This moratorium affects every community in the city,” said Lucy Reese, parent and Charter Parents United (CPU) board member. “Although the resolution has not passed through the Education Committee, parents will continue to advocate for free, high-quality, public schools and let Chicago’s elected officials know that families deserve quality options for their children.”

A large majority of residents from Alderman Sawyer’s ward are unhappy with the current state of public schools in Chicago and support having the option to send their children to charter schools. Charter public schools are working for families by providing high-quality school choices and improving the life trajectories of mostly low-income, minority students who before charter schools had no choice in the public school system. These new polling results confirm what we’ve already known: Chicago parents and voters support quality charter school options.

From Oct. 11 – 13, live interviews were conducted with 400 likely voters in Chicago’s 6th Aldermanic Ward. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9%.

Out of the 81% who support multiple public school options, over 60% strongly support public school options.

Poll Question:

Thinking about schools in Chicago, do you support or oppose providing parents with multiple public   school options so that they can find the learning environment that best meets the needs of their children?

Charter public schools are supported by almost ¾’s (73%) of registered voters in the 6th Ward.

Poll Question:

In general, would you say you support or oppose parents having the option to send their children to charter public schools in Chicago?

Additionally, 66% of those who oppose the moratorium would be much less likely to vote for Alderman Sawyer if he runs for re-election.

Poll Question:

And given the fact that Alderman Sawyer is leading the effort on this resolution, if he is successful in passing a ban on new charter schools in Chicago, would you be more or less likely to vote for Alderman Sawyer if he runs for re-election?

Charter schools are independent public schools that have the freedom to be more innovative while being held strictly accountable for advancing student achievement. Because they are public schools, they are open to all children, do not charge tuition, and do not have special entrance requirements. More than 62,000 students attend one of the 148 charter public schools in Illinois with tens of thousands of families on waitlists demanding a choice in the public education system. Studies show charter schools improve student achievement and outcomes. In Chicago, charter public school students grow more academically, graduate high school, enroll in college, and persist in college at higher rates than their peers at district-run open enrollment schools. Find data and learn more about Illinois charter public schools at www.incschools.org.


INCS Action is the only statewide advocacy organization in Illinois that focuses solely on promoting charter public schools. INCS Action is a 501 (c) (4) organization. We are affiliated with the INCS Action PAC, an Illinois-registered political action committee that supports and opposes candidates for elected office. We support the charitable mission of our partner, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, a 501 (c) (3) organization that brings together students, parents, educators, and administrators who all share a common goal: to improve the quality of public education by promoting and strengthening charter public schools throughout the State of Illinois. For more information on INCS Action, visit www.incsaction.org.