Wednesday, May 08, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS, IN—As Americans prepare to honor mothers this Sunday, a new poll finds that 66 percent of moms with school-age children support vouchers for all students to obtain the best education possible. Mothers with school-age children also have more confidence in private school settings than in traditional public schools.
The poll, commissioned by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, asked mothers of school-age children and other adults in a statistically representative national survey how they feel about education nationwide, education in their communities, and the issue of school choice. In addition to strong support for vouchers, a resounding 69 percent of school moms said they support tax-credit scholarships to be able to choose their children’s schools.
“No one knows better than a mom what education works best for their child, and mothers are crying out for more choices across our country,” said Virginia Walden Ford, a mother whose child received a private scholarship and a Friedman Foundation board member. “Parents want the tools to make it possible to send their child to a school that is safe, where kids learn, and where the values are consistent with their family.”
As of the 2012-13 school year, about 255,000 students use voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs in 22 states and Washington, D.C.
Survey results also show moms with school-age children are not happy with K-12 education’s current course. Sixty-one percent of moms said K-12 education has “gotten off on the wrong track.” And almost eight out of 10, or 79 percent, give a “fair” or “poor” rating of the federal government’s involvement in education.
When asked to grade schools, 56 percent of school moms were more likely to give private schools an “A” or a “B” grade compared to 43 percent of school moms who gave their public schools an “A” or a “B.” Their views of public schools have slipped 19 points since 2012, when 62 percent of school moms gave public schools an “A” or a “B.”
The general public and school moms shared similar views on school grading:
- Only 39 percent of Americans give local public schools an “A” or a “B” compared with 54 percent in 2012—a 15-point drop.
- Sixty percent of Americans grade private schools an “A” or a “B”—a 10-point gain from 2012.
- Thirty-six percent of Americans grade charter schools an “A” or a “B”—an eight-point gain over last year.
Most of those polled agreed that educational choice should be available to all children, an idea first established by the late Nobel laureate Milton Friedman and his wife, Rose. When asked whether vouchers should be based on income, only 37 percent agreed with the statement. But 58 percent of respondents said vouchers should be available to all students, with support highest in the Midwest and South at 59 percent and 63 percent, respectively.
“When a school doesn’t work for a child, the public believes that child should have choices, including private schools—no matter what his parents’ income,” said Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation.
Findings in the “Schooling in America Survey” are based on the results of live telephone interviews that occurred April 1 to 8, 2013, on landlines and cell phones with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults. Braun Research, Inc. (BRI)—a survey organization that has done work for Gallup, the Pew Research Center, and the Washington Post—conducted the poll’s fieldwork and compiled all study data. The survey includes an oversample of respondents who are mothers of school-age children, for a total of 405 interviews. The margin of error is ±3.1 percentage points for the national sample and ±4.9 percentage points for the “school mom” sample.
About the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, solely dedicated to advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman’s vision of school choice for all children. The Foundation promotes school choice as the most effective and equitable way to improve the quality of K-12 education in America.
National Media Relations Director
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice