New Hampshire K–12 & School Choice Survey
By Drew Catt, Jason Bedrick, M.P.P., Paul DiPerna
The purpose of the New Hampshire K–12 & School Choice Survey is to measure public opinion on, and in some cases awareness or knowledge of, a range of K–12 education topics and school choice reforms. This survey of a statistically representative statewide sample of adults (age 18+) who are registered to vote in New Hampshire was funded and developed by EdChoice and conducted by Braun Research, Inc.
In this report, you will learn:
New Hampshire parents’ schooling preferences do not match actual enrollments today.Most New Hampshire voters are not getting what they want in terms of schooling. Nearly two-fifths of voters (39%) said they would send their children to private school if given the option, whereas only 8 percent of New Hampshire K–12 students are enrolled in a private school. Thirteen percent would select a public charter school, but only 2 percent of the state’s K–12 students attend a public charter school. Nearly nine-tenths of New Hampshire’s K–12 students (87%) attend a regular public school, but less than half of that percentage (36%) said they would select this type of school for their child if they had other options.
Most New Hampshire voters are unfamiliar with the state’s current and potential school choice programs.A large majority of New Hampshire voters are slightly or not at all familiar with a variety of school choice types. More than three-fourths of voters said they were slightly/not at all familiar with education savings accounts (ESAs) (76%) and tax-credit scholarships (76%). Nearly two-thirds of voters (63%) provided this same response for public charter schools. When asked about opinions without offering any descriptions, 45 percent of voters are in favor of ESAs and 41 percent are in favor of tax-credit scholarships.
Once informed, a strong majority of New Hampshire school parents favor ESAs and tax-credit scholarships.When provided with definitions, a majority of New Hampshire voters support the state’s tax-credit scholarship program, known as the Education Tax Credit Program, and the proposed ESA program. More than half of voters (58%) and more than two-thirds of school parents (71%) are in favor of the proposed ESAs. More than half of voters (61%) and nearly two-thirds of school parents (66%) are in favor of the state’s tax-credit scholarship program.
Though most say public school per-student spending is too low, very few New Hampshire voters actually know how much the state spends.Only one out of 10 respondents (12%) could estimate the correct per-student spending range for the amount spent on each student in New Hampshire’s public schools ($15,327 in 2013–14). About 28 percent of respondents believe $8,000 or less is being spent per student in the state’s public schools. Another 33 percent of the statewide sample either say they “don’t know” or could not offer a spending number.