Even though the public disapproves of vouchers by 70 percent, special interests in the GOP keep trying to scuttle public school funding with them.
This week, the 45th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools was released. Although it hit on several hot education topics, such as the Common Core State Standards and Teacher Evaluation, one of the poll’s most notable results was the public’s growing disapproval of private school vouchers.
The PDK/Gallup Poll wording also doesn’t even mention the clear problems surrounding private school vouchers: taxpayer unaccountability, a lack of civil rights protections, and public funding of religious schools.The survey reported the highest level of opposition to private school vouchers in its history: 70 percent of the public opposes private school vouchers. This is even higher than the opposition marked in 2012 (55 percent) and 2011 (65 percent).
Not only is this the highest opposition yet, but it comes at a time when private school vouchers are widely being pushed on the state and federal level. The National Coalition for Public Education (NCPE), of which AU is a co-chair, issued a press release saying the poll confirms that “the American people want a well-funded public school system that benefits all, not a patchwork of unaccountable private schools that cater to a few.”
The Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, a proponent of vouchers, was quick to call the PDK/Gallup Poll an outlier, saying the wording of the private school voucher question caused the public to lean towards opposition. But, the poll question was neutral, asking, “Do you favor or oppose allowing students and parents to choose a private school to attend at public expense?” Furthermore, the PDK/Gallup wording has remained identical for the past three years, so the trend data is accurate and not due to differences in wording.
The PDK/Gallup Poll wording also doesn’t even mention the clear problems surrounding private school vouchers: taxpayer unaccountability, a lack of civil rights protections, and public funding of religious schools.