Educational Choice in the States

Published January 1, 1997


A nationwide poll conducted by the Gallup organization in August 1992 asked, “Do you want a voucher system to allow parents to send children to any school they want?” Seventy percent of respondents said “Yes.” Gallup has since rephrased the question, resulting in lower positive responses.


In a May 1994 poll conducted by Arizona Opinion & Political Research, 76 percent of Arizona voters supported some form of voucher for private schools. Eighty-four percent of those voters of the age most likely to have children in school supported vouchers that could be used at private and parochial schools.


An exit poll of registered voters conducted in November 1993, when a school choice initiative was on the ballot, showed only 18 percent of voters would “always be opposed” to school choice. The initiative itself, however, was rejected at the polls.


In May 1995, 81 percent of voters surveyed indicated that they supported “local choice” legislation to allow school districts to create school choice programs, including private schools for low-income children.


In a February 1994 poll conducted as part of an ongoing statewide evaluation of Kansans’ Attitudes Toward Education (KATE), 53 percent of respondents supported adoption of a voucher system where parents could send their child to any public, private, or parochial school.


In a September 1996 poll conducted by EPIC/MRA, 62 percent of respondents said “Yes” when asked, “In some countries, the government allots a certain amount of money for each child’s education and lets parents choose which school, public or private, including parochial schools, they want to send their child to. . . . If such a plan was placed on the ballot in Michigan . . . would you vote YES or NO?”


Almost 68 percent of respondents would like to see Minnesota’s current choice plan extended to include private and parochial schools, according to a March 1995 poll conducted by Maracek & Cairns. Minnesota already has inter-district public school choice and charter schools.


A July 1994 statewide poll conducted by the Center for Urban Studies at the University of Akron showed that 88 percent of Ohioans favored school choice.


An August 1994 poll conducted by Gordon S. Black asked Wisconsin residents, “Would you like to see such a choice plan made available to all parents in Wisconsin if it included local parochial as well as local public and private schools?” Nearly 72 percent of respondents said “Yes.”