Widespread support for school choice remains strong

Widespread support for school choice across political party lines and other demographics remains strong, according to new poll results from Echelon Insights that were announced by the American Federation for Children.

More than 1,100 registered voters were asked in May whether they support school choice and whether the funds the federal government set aside for K-12 education should be directed by parents.

Sixty-five percent of voters are supportive of school choice (19 percent opposed), with 75 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of Democrats, and 60 percent of independents saying they strongly or somewhat strongly support school choice. Most voters in both parties also agree that parents should direct all or some of the funding that the federal government has set aside for K-12 education — 56 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of Democrats.

Support for school choice and funding students over systems is also highest among voters of color. Sixty-nine percent of black voters, 68 percent of Asian voters, 67 percent of Hispanic voters, and 64 percent of white voters support giving parents the right to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school that best serves their needs. Sixty-six percent of black voters, 58 percent of Hispanic voters, 55 percent of Asian voters and 52 percent of white voters support parents directing federal education aid.

With COVID-19 putting a spotlight on the problems in public schools and the shortcomings of a top-down education system, many parents are ready to rethink and reimagine our education system. Voters and parents are also realizing that money alone is not enough to fix the problems in our schools, and that the needs of students in many cases are still being unmet.

As state policymakers think through what changes are needed, it is important that they do not return to the education “reform” efforts that have been tried ad nauseam or to those that simply protect the status quo.

Coming Soon: A policy brief from American Experiment with suggestions on student-centered changes that policymakers should consider embracing.