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Poll: Support for School Choice Remains Strong, But Slides

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Support for charter schools and school voucher-like programs remains strong among Americans, according to a new poll from Education Next and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

The survey found that school choice supporters still outnumber opponents. However, that support has tapered off from a high point last year during the 2014 election that put Republicans in power in many statehouses.

Fifty-one percent of respondents said they support charter schools compared to 54 percent last year. Twenty-seven percent indicated they oppose charters. 

The poll showed a similar trend among supporters for tax credit scholarship programs for low-income students: 55 percent said they support such programs, down from 60 percent last year. (In this type of program, the state uses tax-credits to incentivize businesses or individuals to donate money to a scholarship granting organization, which then gives money to students to use toward tuition at a private school.)

Support for straight-up school vouchers for low-income students dipped slightly from 37 percent in 2014 to 34 percent this year, while support for vouchers for students at all income levels slid from 50 percent to 46 percent—declines researchers say are not statistically significant.   

This is the ninth annual public opinion poll on school reform topics conducted by Education Next and the Harvard Kennedy School. Among other issues researchers queried participants on were Common Core State Standards, the testing opt-out movement, teacher tenure reform and merit pay, which you can read more about on Education Week's District Dossier blog. 

Researchers surveyed a nationally representative, stratified sample of over 4,000 people in May and June of this year. 

You can see the full results of the poll here, including a breakdown of support for charter schools, vouchers, and tax-credit scholarships by race and other groups including parents and teachers.


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