Poll Shows Support for Pennsylvania Choice Proposals

Published July 1, 1999

A two-thirds majority of Philadelphians support the use of school vouchers to allow parents to select the school they believe is best for their child, according to a new poll conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Respondents showed a similar level of support–67.3 percent–for choice proposals that did not decrease per-pupil spending for public schools. Both items are elements of Governor Tom Ridge’s proposed school choice legislation.

The poll, conducted from April 28 to May 17, found that 66.9 percent of Philadelphia residents favor “the use of school vouchers that allow a parent to send their children to any school of their choice, whether public or private, and receive a discount on tuition at that school.” However, support plummeted to 37 percent when private school students are excluded and choice is available only to students currently enrolled in the city’s public schools.

“This finding affirms what I’ve been saying for the past four years,” noted Ridge. “Pennsylvanians want to support low- and middle-income families who already are making tremendous sacrifices to send their children to their school of choice.”

“The opponents of school choice are fighting a rising tide of popular opinion, and that is why they ultimately will fail,” predicted Ridge.