Louisiana Surveys Indicate High Public Support for Vouchers

Published March 20, 2012

Two recent surveys of Louisiana parents and voters reveal high satisfaction with the New Orleans vouchers system and overall approval for major components of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education reform proposals.

“The program is exactly what I was looking for in an education for my daughter,” said Deetta Holmes, mother of a Louisiana voucher student.” I wish the entire education system could operate on the same level and quality of this program. Every child should experience this type of education.”

Sixty percent of Louisiana voters supported expanding the state’s voucher program for low and middle income families while 30 percent opposed this, according to a poll released Monday by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and the Louisiana-based Pelican Institute for Public Policy.

Ninety-three percent of parents with children currently enrolled in the New Orleans voucher program say they are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the schools their children attend, according to the most recent annual poll from the Louisiana Black Alliance for Educational Options. Ninety-four percent are happy with their child’s academic progress. Ninety-nine percent of respondents said their child feels safe and welcome in his or her scholarship school.

“Parental choice is working in New Orleans and these results show that parents would have it no other way,” said Eric Lewis, LBAEO state director. 

The Friedman Foundation’s statewide poll found that support for expanding vouchers was as high as 67 percent in some New Orleans area parishes, where families have more experience with vouchers.

The state’s current vouchers average $4,863 and serve 1,912 low-income K-6 students in New Orleans. Jindal’s proposal would expand the program to the entire state—making nearly 400,000 students eligible.

Sixty-four percent of voters rated the state’s private schools an “A” or “B.” In contrast, 34 percent rated public schools an “A” or “B.” More than 30 percent rated their public schools a “D” or “F.” Majorities of voters also supported overhauling teacher tenure, seniority rules, and pay.

“This scholarship program has done wonders for my son,” said Megan Cruse, mother of another voucher recipient. “He was in public school and he came home sad every day because students were picking on him because he was one of the quiet students. He has excelled tremendously in his academics now because he is a happy child.”


Image by Peter Reid.