Millennials Are the School Choice Generation, New Survey Says

Millennials support equal opportunity and a society without borders. School choice delivers on both fronts.


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Good news for supporters of school choice: millennials are just as likely as older generations to say that kids and parents should have more options when it comes to education.

For some aspects of school choice, such as voucher programs and education savings accounts, favorability rates are arguably strongest among millennials (albeit with some caveats that I'll get to in a minute).

That's according to a survey released by EdChoice (formerly the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice), a public policy organization that supports school choice.

Overall, 63 percent of millennial respondents were in favor of charter schools, and just 19 percent were opposed. The national average was 59 percent and 23 percent. This means that millennials were actually slightly more pro-charter than the average, though the difference is within the survey's margin of error.

That should be reason enough for school choice reformers to cheer, though some caution is still warranted: millennials held initially hostile views toward vouchers—just 33 percent supported them. But the survey asked the question twice: after it explained what vouchers were, support for them rose to 61 percent.

Indeed, lack of information about education policies might be the biggest obstacle to making millennials even more supportive of reform. Two out three millennial respondents said the country wasn't spending enough money on education. But according to the poll results, they badly underestimated how much money schools receive from the government. After being given the correct per-pupil funding numbers, some millennial respondents changed their minds. The percentage of respondents who thought per-pupil spending was too low dropped from 55 percent to 37 percent, and increasing percentages of respondents answered that current funding was "too high," "about right," or "didn't know."

Obvious disclaimer: This poll was produced by a pro-school choice organization. That said, I'm not at all surprised to learn that millennials are just as excited about school choice as older generations—if not more excited. They're against arbitrary borders (zip codes, in this case), deeply concerned about structural racism in public institutions (like police departments and traditional public schools), and motivated by principles of fairness and equal opportunity. School choice delivers on all these fronts.

To see some of the survey's highlights, go here.

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  1. I hope I’m not the first to say it: would.

    1. Cute kid, but what I really want to see is her mother.

  2. Anyone who uses the term “millenial” should be immediately discounted. It’s one of the biggest useless over-generalizations I’ve ever seen.

    1. Kind of like Gen X, Baby Boomer, Greatest Generation, Founding Generation….

      1. Greatest Generation is just a flat out lie.

        They raised the baby boomers, so they fucked up pretty badly.

        1. They also enthusiastically backed FDR, often by large margins.

  3. That totally explains why they reliably vote for Team Blue by large margins or something.

    They like the idea of choice, but aren’t willing to shake up the system any more than their parents are.

    1. Like everyone else, they only like choice if it’s the right choice.

    2. It’s not exactly that. The libertarian shift is actually happening in my generation, but it’s very slow-going besides with a couple of keystone issues, and it’s only really occurring in the side of my generation that lived in conservative or religious households. The ones that grew up in the liberal households have simply shed the mask and identify as socialists or progressives.

    3. I put that more to the GOP holding steadfast to positions in very obvious wedge issues that Millennials are opposed to, ie Gay Marriage being an obvious one. With the issue out of the hands of the electorate we’ll see how things go.

      At a young age people usually don’t have thoughtful policies on complicated economic matters (most don’t at any point in their lives) and the issue shouted about the most will gather attention.

      1. The largest failure of our public school system, and there are way too many to count, is the complete and utter lack of economic and financial education from elementary level up. So much of the status quo surrounds teaching students literature and history, which while important is in my mind secondary to the financial literacy that grown adults should have but were often never educated on. Libertarianism would become more popular if more students were taught these skills from an early age.

        1. But there’s a problem. Who is going to be teaching them finance and economics. My son took an econ class in high school that was really a class in business bashing.

          1. I didn’t say an economics class, but basic financial literacy. Those are two very different types of education, in my head. But you’re right, it only matters so much if the person teaching it has different priorities.

          2. Even straight forward macroeconomics in the public education system of the reddest of red states (or libertarianest of libertarian states) is pretty heavily slanted towards the Keynesian.

            “We don’t have a clue and probably never will.” doesn’t sell textbooks.

        2. Libertarianism would become more popular if more students were taught these skills from an early age

          This poor, misbegotten belief raises its head again. No offense specifically to you, but anyone who believes that people would desire freedom more if only they were taught the right things are delusional on the subject. You can’t teach people to want to be free. You can certainly try as long as you don’t mind running into an impenetrable wall of “yeah, but”.

    4. In NC, you can see it a lot depending on which universities the students are attending. The “elite” state and private universities, such as UNC, Duke, and NC State (to an extent), are all infested with progressives and SJWs, while the state’s secondary universities, such as East Carolina, Appalachian State, and UNC-Charlotte are where the libertarian movements are really taking hold. I currently attend UNC, but being around East Carolina and App State students this summer was a huge breath of fresh air. Even the more proggy ones were so much more open to political criticism than in Chapel Hill.

  4. Robby, you seem like a guy that appreciates a little Blue Oyster Cult every now and again. Jam out with me on air guitar.

  5. RE: Millennials Are the School Choice Generation, New Survey Says

    The little people should not be allowed school choice. That is reserved rightfully for our ruling elitist turds enslaving us. The unenlightened masses would be wise to give even more of their money to state and local governments so the indoctrination process can progressive in a much faster rate. This way, all the untermenschen in our beloved socialist slave state will not question the judicious diktats of our obvious betters enslaving us all.
    The Glorious Peoples Revolution starts with young minds and naive adults.

  6. I’m not giving up on millenials yet – they aren’t going to tolerate discrimination by private businesses and issues like guns will likely be as divisive as ever, but there is a real chance to build support for liberty-friendly (if not full-throated libertarian) solutions on a range of domestic issues.

    1. But they do need to toughen the fuck up

    2. Like fucking what? Where are the war protesters? Where are the surveillance protests?

      The government is as crooked as ever and getting moreso and Universities full of millennials are awash in SJW malaise and Title IX litigation. Worse, the students and recent grads seem not only to be wholly tolerating it but demanding more for free!

  7. “This means that millennials were actually slightly more pro-charter than the average, though the difference is within the survey’s margin of error.”

    So really no difference.

  8. Obvious disclaimer: This poll was produced by an organization that lobbies in favor of the thing it’s measuring here, so its findings should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Let’s see… “Millennials are shallow, under-informed, and feckless.”

    Seems like they got it pretty straight to me.

  9. Millennials Are the School Choice Generation, New Survey Says

    Which means diddly squat because they aren’t having kids.

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