In an op-ed for Real Clear Education, Paul E. Peterson notes that public opinion surveys are finding that public support for vouchers is growing.
A year ago, the 2016 Education Next poll of a representative sample of adult Americans (which I oversee) found only 31% of the public support the use of “government funds to pay the tuition of low-income students” while 55% opposed, with the remainder taking a neutral position. Now, according to a poll just released by Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center, vouchers that use taxpayer funds for low-income students to attend private schools gathered support from 43% of the public, with only 31% opposed. The shift in opinion is no less than 12 percentage points
Vouchers for all families are more popular. When Education Next asked a year ago about a “proposal has been made that would give all families with children in public schools a wider choice, by allowing them to enroll their children in private schools instead, with government helping to pay the tuition,” 45% favored the idea, 44% opposed it and 12% took a neutral position.
Earlier this month, the Harvard School of Public Health asked a similar question. It found that 54% of the public support vouchers, with only 41% opposed. That’s a jump upward of 9 percentage points. No wonder the Associated Press is reporting that in many state houses “expectations among conservatives are soaring that the time for a ‘school choice’ revolution has finally arrived.”
The results from the 2016 Education Next poll are available here.
— Education Next