The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, and Beck Research, a Democratic polling firm, released their fifth annual National School Choice Poll. The survey of 1,200 likely November 2020 voters showed that 67% of voters support school choice, an increase of 4 percentage points compared to the 2018 National School Choice Poll.
Statement from John Schilling, President of the American Federation for Children:
“Despite relentless attacks from opponents of educational freedom throughout the past year, school choice support has grown over the past year. Most parents want a different option for their child and are willing to make sacrifices to go to a better school if they had the option. Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and communities of color are all demanding greater choice in K-12 education. It’s time for policymakers to listen to these voters and pass legislation that gives more families the freedom to choose the best educational environment for their child.”
School Choice Support Increased:
When asked, “Generally speaking, would you say you favor or oppose the concept of school choice?” and given the following definition, “School choice gives parents the right to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which best serves their needs,” two-thirds (67%) favor school choice, including 40% who strongly support it.
Demographic Support for School Choice Remains Strong
Support for school choice is broad across numerous demographic categories.
African Americans: 67%
Parents and grandparents: 72%
Rural/Exurban Voters: 68%
Suburban Voters: 64%
Parents want school choice, and are willing to make sacrifices to obtain it:
Most parents prefer private schools over public. Fully 58% of survey respondents report that their children currently attend traditional public school, but only 35% report that public schools are their first choice of school (an additional 12% of parents say that their children attend a combination of public and private schools). In contrast, 59% of parents indicate that they would prefer for their child to attend a different type school (29% religious school, 18% private non-religious and 11% charter school).
American parents (and grandparents) are willing to take action so their children could attend a private school for free. Almost 3 in 5 parents picked three or more from a list of possible personal sacrifices “to send (their) child to a private school for free.” The most popular actions during this first week in January mirrors common New Year’s resolutions: cutting all eating out and take-out from restaurants for a year (62%) and stop drinking coffee or caffeine for a year (62%). In addition, about half of the parents indicate that they are willing to drive their child 25 miles each way to school (49%), move 10 miles away (46%) or change jobs (41%). Only 13% wouldn’t be willing to take one of the actions to enroll their child in private school for free.
Voters want their elected officials to get behind school choice.
It’s not surprising that a strong majority of voters want elected officials to take a stand on school choice. Three out of five voters are more likely to support a Member of Congress or state legislator who supports expanding school choice, including 21% who are much more likely to vote someone who supports choice. Latinos are even more likely to back a school choice candidate; 71% say they are more likely to vote for a school choice candidate, including 35% who are much more likely.
The full polling memo from Beck Research is here: https://www.federationforchildren.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/2019-National-Release-Memo-FINAL-1.17.19.pdf