Given the fact that most Democrat presidential candidates are so opposed to school choice, one would think that their stance on the matter was in line with popular opinion, but it isn’t.
As Harvard University’s EducationNext poll shows, most Americans, including an overwhelming number of Hispanic and African-American parents, support school choice. The poll includes information from more than 4,600 adults around the United States. The pollsters made it a point to target parents, teachers, African-Americans, and Hispanics while still including Caucasians, Asian-Americans and individuals who don’t have kids.
The concept of providing state-funded vouchers for all families whose children attend a private or charter school has been a highly controversial one since current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos took office. Even so, support for such a voucher system has risen from 45% in 2016 to 55% today.
It’s not just rich white people who are behind supporting such a program. Nearly two-thirds of African-American and Hispanic respondents support the concept, as do two-thirds of all parents interviewed. Not surprisingly, the bulk of the opposition to such a plan comes from public school teachers who are also union members.
Support for tax credit scholarships that could be used to fund attendance at a private or charter school is even more popular than a voucher plan, as a majority of both Democrat and Republican voters state that they approve of the idea. The idea of a federal tax credit scholarship plan is slightly more appealing to parents than state-run tax credit scholarship plans, but the difference in support levels for the both plans is slim.
At the same time, support for charter schools throughout the nation is also high, with half of all parents supporting charter school usage in their state. African-American and Hispanic voters are far more supportive of charter schools than their Caucasian counterparts. Given the fact that many minority parents live in poor neighborhoods with lousy public schools, it’s not hard to see why.
Homeschooling also saw rising support, as only about a third of respondents said that they opposed the concept, while 45% of respondents supported it. The poll also noted that support for public school teacher union demands for a higher salary and higher per-pupil spending took a hit. A whopping 72% of uninformed interviewees thought that teachers needed to earn more per year; upon learning how much teachers actually earn in a single year, support for higher salaries dropped by more than fifteen percentage points.
Only 50% of poll respondents thought that schools needed more per-pupil funding upon learning that public schools spend an average of $12,201 on each student every single school year.
The Democratic Party, together with its mainstream media acolytes, has been demonizing school choice for the last couple of years. Anti-school choice activists have stated that school choice would give state and federal funding to religious schools, fund private school tuition for rich kids and deprive poor children of public school funding. Given this fact, it is telling that a growing number of parents support school choice and the potential benefits it could offer their children.
The truth is that parents of all ethnic backgrounds, religions and walks of life love their kids and want the best possible education for them. While some public schools in certain parts of the nation are doing well, others are faltering and many, unfortunately, are utterly pathetic. There is also the fact that some children will learn better in an alternative learning environment than in a conventional one. School choice makes sense on every level, which is why many parents are in favor of it while far-left activists are absolutely opposed to the concept.