A national, statistically representative survey of mothers of school-aged children has found 71 percent say school vouchers should be available to all families, regardless of income or a child’s special needs.
Sixty-one percent of moms and 55 percent of all adults polled nationally favor a school voucher system that would allow tax dollars to follow children to the school of their choice, private or public.
“The bond between mother and child is precious,” said Leslie Hiner, vice president of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. “Moms want and need options to help [kids] access whatever type of education their child may need. They will go to great lengths to find a school that will help their child be successful. That’s why moms support school choice.”
Focusing on Parents’ Opinions
The poll, conducted by Braun Research, Inc. for the Friedman Foundation, surveyed 1,078 adults, including 401 mothers with children in elementary or secondary school. It asked respondents, “Some people believe that school vouchers or scholarships should be available to all families, regardless of income or special needs. Do you agree or disagree with that statement?” Seventy-one percent of mothers agreed, and so did 69 percent of all adults polled. Twenty-five percent of each group disagreed.
Various organizations, including Gallup, MetLife, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have for decades commissioned polls to gauge public opinion about education. The Friedman survey notes these have not focused on parents of school-age children but instead on teachers and the general public.
“We need to draw more attention toward moms because they tend to be the primary decision-makers within families regarding schooling and educational matters,” wrote Paul DiPerna, Friedman’s research director, in the paper containing the poll results. “Their views, as a group, tend to go underreported.”
Preference for Private Schools
The poll also found 37 percent of adults polled would choose a private school if they could select any school to obtain the best education for their child. Currently, public schools hold 90 percent of the nation’s 55 million students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
The poll also asked respondents to grade their local public schools, charter schools, and private schools.
Of the mothers who offered grades from A to F, 65 percent gave their local public schools an “A” or “B.” Sixty-three percent of respondents overall graded public schools an “A” or “B.” Eighty-three percent of moms and 82 percent of the general public gave the same high marks to private schools.
“Moms and Schools Survey” and related documents, the Friedman Foundation: http://EdChoice.org/MomsPoll
Image by Steven Yeh.