School Choice

69 Percent of Americans, Including 60% of Democrats, Favor School Choice


A recent national survey of U.S. adults finds that school choice is massively popular among every possible group and sub-group. For instance:

When asked, "Generally speaking, would you say you favor or oppose the concept of school choice? School choice gives parents the right to use the tax dollars associated with their child's education to send their child to the public or private school which better serves their needs," fully 69% support school choice, including 45% who strongly support it, while 27% oppose it. School choice support has strong support across partisan lines; 60% of Democrats, 67% of Independents and 81% of Republicans back it.

These arguments in favor of school choice are popular, according to the pollsters at the Democratic-affiliated firm of Beck Research.

o "Too many students are stuck in failing schools and need help right now. If K to 12 students are not receiving a quality education in their neighborhood public school, parents should have the opportunity to get them a quality education at another school" (50% very convincing, 77% very or somewhat convincing).

o "Opportunity scholarship programs give children from low income families a way out of failing schools so they are not forced to wait indefinitely for their local schools to improve. Students should not be sentenced to a poor Page 3 education based upon their zip code" (49% very convincing, 77% very or somewhat convincing).

o "Vouchers provide an immediate path for children from low income families in failing schools to access a better education. Studies show that children in these programs have higher graduation rates, higher academic achievement and parents are more satisfied with their child's school" (43% very convincing, 76% very or somewhat convincing).

Read full results and methodology here.

Reason Foundation is a partner in National School Week, an annual event that draws attention to increasing educational options for K-12 students and their parents. For more information on resources and activities, including more than 10,000 events taking place nationwide between January 25-31, go here now.

Of course, there's at least one Democrat who emphatically does not support school choice, at least when it concerns kids other than his own. That's Barack Obama, who despite sending his own kids to the pricey Sidwell Friends in D.C. (and a similarly fancy private school in Chicago before that), quickly moved to quash a popular and effective scholarship program that allowed needy children in Washington to attend schools that were otherwise out of reach. Watch this 2009 video about how that happened:

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  1. Of course, there’s at least one Democrat who emphatically does not support school choice, at least when it concerns kids other than his own.

    Oh. Snap.

    1. School choice is for the privileged political class.

  2. 100% of unionized teachers don’t! And that’s where urban Ds get their money; end of story.

    1. And, indoctrination via public schools is where they get the next generation of voters.

      I support school choice, but would prefer the Dept of Ed be abolished as a first-step.

    2. They also get money from taxi cartels, which of course need a supply of workers whose job prospects would be far better if the schools were any good.


  3. I favor choice in pretty much everything, not just school. I call this. . .FREEEE-DOMMMMM.

  4. A recent national survey of U.S. adults finds that school choice is massively popular among every possible group and sub-group.

    Yeah, but I’m sure once those team blue people get their talking points they’ll remember they’re supposed to be against it.

    1. [Slaps palm on forehead.] Oh, that’s right, I hate school choice! How silly of me to forget that.

  5. If I had to pick one area of freedom for Democrats to be in favor of, school choice would be it. It means less state-sponsored propaganda and reliance on government in those formative years.

    1. Which is why they’d never really advocate this. Even if they split with the teacher’s unions, which is possible, they want the control over the way kids are educated.

      1. True, but if homeschooling continues to go more mainstream, things might change regardless of how the establishment feels about it.

        1. I sure hope so. Homeschooling is pretty cool. My wife does it with our youngest, and the resources they have are staggering. Right now, aside from the reading, writing, math, and assorted other subjects taught at home, they go to marine biology classes, art, and general science classes, and she’s currently building and programming robots in a new class. At 7.

  6. Didn’t someone ask in a thread on gay marriage the other day if any libertarian issue polled at 48%?

    Seems like we have another answer for them

  7. I had a friend that turned down a TFA job because she’s against charter schools and they would have stationed her at a charter school. They don’t all serve the most underprivileged students, so she didn’t want to work for one of them. But they do frequently serve at least a decent percentage of underprivileged students. Not a big enough percentage, apparently.

  8. The most effective system of ‘school choice’ is vouchers, and we know what the NEA/AFT thinks of that.

  9. My suspicion is that this issue has transitioned to the point where the opposition starts to go underground. When enough of the public favors school choice, the Democrats will have no choice but to say they favor it, so long as there’s not too much choice or insufficient regulation involved. Down the line the agenda involves unionizing private school employees and standardizing administration and curricula.

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