A Thursday poll showed that about two-thirds of likely 2018 voters are in favor of school choice.
Sixty-three percent of Americans likely to vote in the 2018 elections supportschool choice, with minorities more likely to support it than white people, according to a press release obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“I’m not surprised,” Lance Izumi, senior director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Even in places like California you have very widespread and deep support for school choice.”
Izumi recommended that policymakers adopt his American Education Agenda, which advocates for the repeal of Common Core and laws preventing school choice, as well as the amendment of teacher layoff policies to support teacher quality instead of seniority.
While 61 percent of whites support school choice, the initiative holds favor with 66 percent of prospective black voters and 72 percent of expected Latino voters. Fifty-four, 62, and 75 percent of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans support school choice, respectively.
“Those Democratic representatives…who represent those minority communities are really standing in the way of the voice of their own constituents who are basically yelling loud and clear that they want choice for their kids,” remarked Izumi to TheDCNF. “Those districts are often the places that have the worst public schools.”
Education savings accounts, which permit parents to withdraw children from public education in exchange for public funds dedicated to private school enrollment, enjoy broad support across the political spectrum, with 81 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of Independents, and 70 percent of Democrats supporting them.
“This year’s National School Choice Poll shows that families want educational opportunity and freedom when it comes to their child’s education,” said John Schilling, president of the American Federation for Children, the pro-school group which conducted the poll along with the Democratic polling firm Beck Research. “Almost all voters want private school choice options available in some form, public charter schools remain quite popular, and the concept of school choice is favorable across the nation’s ideological, geographic, and racial and ethnic backgrounds like no other issue in 2018.”
Izumi told TheDCNF that teacher unions remain a significant hurdle to school choice, but expressed optimism, saying the people’s decision was what ultimately mattered.
“Money isn’t everything,” said the scholar. “You look at President Trump. He didn’t spend a fraction of what a lot of his opponents spent…they proved to be fully unsuccessful…he had the ideas that were right for the times.”
The American Federation for Children and Beck Research sampled 1,100 voters from January 8 to January 13 and obtained a +/-3.5 percent margin of error.