School Choice Support Continues Growth Trajectory

Public support for school choice programs is showing substantial gains nationally, especially among communities of color, according to the newly-published 2018 EducationNext poll.

In each school choice category, support was strongest among Hispanic respondents, also strong among blacks surveyed, with support among white respondents still positive, but the weakest among racial and ethic groups.

Prominent among the latest findings, 54 percent of all people surveyed indicated support for school choice models for all families, where government funds provide help paying for private school tuition (31 percent were opposed).  Among Hispanics surveyed, 67 percent supported and 20 percent opposed.

When the question was narrowed to ask about limiting participation in such programs to only include low-income families, 62 percent of Hispanics expressed support.  Curiously among white respondents only, limiting program participation to just low-income families caused support to fall to 43 percent (44 opposed), when the same question as applied to all families was favored by 53 percent of the same white respondents (31 opposed).

This latest national poll reflects similar results to those found in Nevada by an April, 2018 poll by the Nevada Independent, particularly among Hispanic voters.  In that survey, 67 percent of Hispanic voters declared Nevada’s Education Savings Account program.

In the national poll, 68 percent of Hispanics expressed support for programs where tax credits are offered to pay for scholarships to help children from low-income households attend private school, with 57 percent of all respondents supporting this question.  Nevada’s current Educational Choice Scholarship program is such a program.

Support for charter schools also polled strongly in the new national poll, with white, black and Hispanic respondents all registering a majority in support.  Support for charters was strongest among Hispanic voters (49 percent support/33 opposed), followed by black (46/26) and white respondents (42 to 37).

According to EducationNext, the national education policy journal responsible for the annual poll, support for both universal school choice models and charter schools grew significantly in the twelve months since their last survey.  Support for school choice models targeted for low-income households held at the same levels as last year.