Public Opinion Snapshot: “Yes” for Public School Choice, “No” for Vouchers
Conservatives aren’t giving up on their plans to destroy the public school system. Their weapon of choice: Vouchers that would allow parents to use public money to send their kids to private school. The result, as they well know, would be to suck money out of the already underfunded public school system and undercut the system’s ability to provide quality education. That would lead to even more students and money leaving the system, which would further worsen the situation—and so the downward spiral would go.
This conservative policy dream has a serious problem, though: The public can see where vouchers would lead, and they oppose them for that reason. In the latest version of the annual Gallup/Phi Delta Kappa education poll the public opposes "allowing students and parents to choose a private school to attend at public expense" by almost 2:1 (65-34).
But the public does support choice in the public school system provided it’s among public schools themselves. By an overwhelming 74-25 margin the public thinks students and parents should be able to choose which public school in their community they attend "regardless of where they live."
If conservatives want to do something productive for a change they could help craft the policies that would make public school choice available and feasible across the country instead of pursuing their quixotic quest to destroy the public school system with vouchers.
Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or email@example.com
Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or email@example.com
Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or email@example.com
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or email@example.com
Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or firstname.lastname@example.org