More Than Half Of Parents In Favor Of School Choice

Posted: Sep 13, 2014 2:58 PM
More Than Half Of Parents In Favor Of School Choice
School choice programs are a flashpoint in a few elections this year; Dan discussed a poll about Wisconsin's school choice program playing a major role in Scott Walker's re-election push. Another recent poll finds that most parents are in favor of some kind of school voucher program.

Paul E. Peterson writes:

Many parents would like even more choice of school than they currently have. No less than 56% favor a school voucher that would “give 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.” Only 32% opposed the idea. In other words, two- thirds of all parents, including those who have never made use of a private school, are not opposed to the idea of giving families a choice of attending private school instead of public school.

It is true that a much higher percentage of parents (51%) express opposition to a proposal that would “use government funds to pay the tuition of low-income students who would choose to attend private schools.” It seems that many parents don’t like the idea of government support going to just low-income families; if vouchers are to be made available, they should be for everyone. Indeed 56% of parents favor a universal voucher option, while only 50% of the public is so inclined.

While a school choice program that targeted low-income families - similar to Washington, D.C.'s opportunity scholarship program that was dropped by the Obama Administration and only reauthorized with Republicans' advocacy - would be better than nothing, many families feel that programs like this should be open to all families.