• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Back to School: Support for School Choice Reaches All-Time High

    Support for school choice is at an all-time high, according to this year’s PDK/Gallup Poll, released just this morning.

    Forty-four percent of Americans now favor allowing students to choose a private school to attend at public expense. School choice favorability has jumped 10 percentage points since last year, a sign that the proliferation of options such as vouchers, education savings accounts, and online learning is creating a welcome choice for families across the country.

    The poll, the 44th one that PDK/Gallup has conducted using the same questions, measures Americans’ attitudes toward the public education system in the U.S. It is “unique and significant because its longitudinal data documents important changes in American opinions about education over time.” In addition to the significant growth in support for school choice, PDK/Gallup also found that:

    • More than half of respondents favor tying teacher evaluations to student performance on tests.
    • When asked, “In your opinion, which is more important for the federal government to do in the next five years—balance the federal budget or improve the quality of the education system in the nation?” 60 percent of respondents favored balancing the federal budget.
    • Nationally, only 12 percent of respondents would give the public schools a letter grade of “A.” Thirty-six percent would award the nation’s public schools a grade of “B,” 31 percent “C,” 13 percent “D,” and 4 percent responded that our nation’s public schools deserve an “F.”

    Now more than ever, parents seem to want more school choice options. They want to evaluate teachers based on performance and restrain federal education spending. As children head back to school this fall, it’s a message that policymakers should embrace.

    A few days prior to the PDK/Gallup poll, Gallup released the results of a separate survey of Americans’ views toward No Child Left Behind (NCLB). According to Gallup, “more Americans think [NCLB]…has made education worse rather than better, by 29% to 16%.”

    Of those who consider themselves very familiar with the law, 48 percent believe it has made education worse.

    These surveys of American families’ opinions on education should inform policymakers’ thinking on issues such as federal intervention in education and school choice. Americans believe that federal education intervention through bureaucratic laws such as NCLB has failed to improve outcomes. It’s one more reason federal policymakers should work to restore federalism in education by devolving dollars and decision-making to the state and local level through proposals like A-PLUS.

    State policymakers should work to ensure that parents have a wide array of educational options available to them and can facilitate the expansion of school choice by empowering families with control over their share of education funding. Options like the education savings accounts implemented in Arizona, statewide vouchers in effect in Louisiana, and tuition tax credits benefitting children in Florida provide families with greater control over education—something more and more parents are expressing they want.

    Posted in Education, Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Back to School: Support for School Choice Reaches All-Time High

    1. Scott David Smith says:

      I have done serious study of the dire problem of our education system. I have two solutions.

      1. We need to copycat Germany and Japan in having state of the art vocational schools in our communities for our young people so we can maximize our ability to have great paying blue collar jobs. Most vocational high schools in our country do not even begin to scratch the surface of the training needed. Germany has the program to shoot for and surpass. I have a Masters degree from Duke University but we need to stop telling the lie that a liberal arts education is needed in order to do well in your life. It simply is not true. It takes all kinds.

      2. Government education has to be transformed in the following manner:
      A. Teachers are in complete charge of picking curriculum.
      B. Parents are in complete control of picking their child's teacher no matter whether private or public. The parent can choose any teacher as long as there is space in their classroom and as long as the teacher will accept the child. Teachers are paid based on the number of students they can handle in their classroom and still maintain the quality the parents who chose them will accept. Bad teachers will not be able to garner enough students to remain full time and will eventually remove themselves from profession. No need for an H.R. department.
      C. Education dollar always follows the child whether the child goes to government or private school or is
      home schooled. No need for government facilities to build or maintain.
      D. Government exists only to dispense the voucher money to accredited teachers and to collect national testing date.
      E. Teaching to the test for national testing purposes should be banned.
      F. Teachers should be treated as highly skilled professionals such as attorneys, doctors and C.P.A.'s.
      They should be allowed to open their own solitary private practice, join a group of other teachers, join
      a large professional group or a large comprehensive institution.
      G. Provision against the teaching of unprovoked violence to any fellow citizen in order to receive voucher money. This will keep in check organizations like the KKK, Black Panthers or those who are Sharia friendly from getting government grant money.
      H. Free market privatization of education will drive the bad teachers out, will force the end of wasteful spending and will spur innovation amongst the good teachers in order to achieve ever higher results with their children.

      • Jhon Kacan says:

        You rigth but not in all,teacher of elementary and high school can't be treat alike alwyer,that is estupid,is not some alike who teach in a University,but Union teacher can't and will can't tolerete use a menance of violence.Most teacher have only high schooldiploma and won a make a money alike lawyer?no way.30.000$ is enough good salarie,because a teacher is NOT give a quality jobs who suppost give.Basic are greed,but dems are much more guilty,why wait a have a Mayor Dems for go to strike?If a Mayor was a Republican nothing was happening,result are Dems are a big problem in USA.One solution are give to all parent a voucher for send a children to a private school and a district have a excuse fire a teacher,another way are a mayor can force all teacher back to work,but that guy is will not doing or better are bring a illegals Mexican teacher remplace all Chicago teacher,like Dems doing with all another worker around a Country,and when a teacher is will no money for paid rent,food,utilities and no help froma gov,is will force living in a street with no money and job,there is will undrestand a mistake was doing.

    2. K West says:

      I have been a public school teacher in the Southwest for 17 years. While the idea of vouchers seems, to me, a plausible solution to the problem of the over-educating of the lowest at the expense of the highest performing students. More and more of our education dollars are disproportionately spent on low-income and special education students without much to show for it.

      The unfortunate side effect of this proposal, however, is that private schools do not have to take students with special needs. They are not required to take students whose parents cannot afford school lunches or school supplies. Private schools will, of course, be able to better educate our highest-performing students when 100% of their education dollars go solely to them.

      I agree that more vocational schools should be opened. Not every student is destined for college – and the immense amount of Pell Grants awarded to students who have no idea what they even want to study and are required to take remedial courses is a misuse of funds. There is little need for an auto mechanic to study Geometry or the works of Shakespeare. But there is even less use in an advanced seventh grader – who reads at a post-high-school level – to sit in a reading class aimed at those reading below grade level.

      If Presidents Kennedy and Reagan both believed that "a rising tide lifts all boats," why has this idea not caught on in education? We have spent the last decade (since NCLB) trying to "close the achievement gaps" at the expense of the students at the top.

    3. J Prince says:

      I'm in agreement with most of what was said, but I think most of us can agree on a major change has to come for the dept of education. In order to get funding yu have to satisfy mandates. No child left behind is the worst concept I've ever heard of. That's why we have seventh graders reading at a third grade level. And high school graduates taking college proficency exams. Why are we graduating children from high school oif they are not proficent for college???? Not teaching American history or rewriting history as obama puts it is another horrible decision. More money is going to the handicapped and low income schools, why I do not know. Not to sound disrespectful or callous but what kind of returns are expected?

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×