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September 13 2018

Poll: Majority of Americans Support School Choice

by Charlotte Hays

Education Next has a new poll out that finds strong support for school choice from American families, despite the onslaught against it from union officials and Democratic politicians.

Vicki Alger reported on the poll in The Hill:

Fully 54 percent of all respondents in Education Next’s nationally representative poll favor giving all public-school parents the option of sending their children to private schools with government helping to pay tuition.

Not only has overall support for universal private-school options increased by 9 percentage points since 2017, bipartisan support has also increased. Among Republicans support increased 10 points since last year to 64 percent. Among Democrats it increased 7 points to 47 percent.

Majorities of Americans also support universal private-school choice regardless of their racial or ethnic backgrounds, including 53 percent each among black and white Americans, as well as 67 percent of Hispanic Americans.

The only group with a majority opposed are teachers, whose support dropped from 40 percent last year to 34 percent this year —a stark contrast to the 61 percent of parents who favor universal private-school choice.

Compared to support for private-school options for all families, support for wider publicly funded options targeting just some families is 11 points lower at 43 percent. However, context matters.

When poll authors replaced the phrase “wider choice” with the word “voucher,” support for making all public-school families eligible dropped 10 percentage points. Yet there was no significant change in support when it came to offering low-income families private-school vouchers.

Similarly, the Education Next poll found that a majority of Americans, 57 percent, also support privately funded tax-credit scholarships for low-income students. Unlike voucher scholarships, which are government funded, these scholarships are funded through private tax-credited donations to nonprofit organizations.

Support for low-income-student tax-credit scholarships includes 58 percent of Republicans and Democrats, 61 percent of blacks, 62 percent of parents, and 68 percent of Hispanics.  Support among teachers for tax-credit scholarships is also higher than for publicly funded voucher scholarships at 47 percent overall and 49 percent of non-union teachers.

These results are especially impressive given the attempts to vilify school choice.  

 



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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