Poll suggests a majority of the public favors school choice
- A nationally representative poll of 4,601 adults distilled public opinion on a variety of education flashpoints, including teachers unions, affirmative action in school assignments and racial disparity in discipline.
- Perhaps the largest finding of the May 2018 Education Next Survey of Public Opinion is that a 54% majority supports "wider choice" for public school parents by "allowing them to enroll their children in private schools instead with government helping to pay the tuition" — fully a 9 percentage point increase over just one year earlier.
- Another striking finding is the degree of support for increasing teacher pay. The timing of the survey shortly after a slew of high-profile teacher strikes may not be coincidental, but 49% of respondents said that what teachers were being paid in their state was not enough. The report raises the possibility that that degree of support reflects the strength of the national economy.
School choice is having a good year, a development made all the more notable considering the unbridled endorsement of the concept by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Despite ongoing criticism of DeVos by teacher union officials and Democratic politicians, support for universal school vouchers and charter schools is higher than it was in 2017. Opposition to vouchers has fallen from 37% to 31%. African-American and Hispanic respondents are more favorably disposed (56% and 62%, respectively) toward vouchers for low-income families than are white respondents (35%).