School choice group says Idahoans want education options
The Friedman Foundation, a pro-school choice group based in Indianapolis, released a study Thursday saying that a good share of Idahoans would support a tax-credit education program in the Gem State.
The study polled 2,097 Idaho residents, and nearly 60 percent of respondents said they would send their children to somewhere other than public schools if they had the opportunity.
Below is the Friedman Foundation’s press release:
Voters in Idaho strongly support charter schools and a statewide tax-credit scholarship system for alternative education opportunities, according to a new poll released today by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
The tax-credit program would benefit individuals and businesses who contribute financially to nonprofit organizations that distribute private school scholarships. The tax-credit scholarship supports giving parents the option of sending their child to a school of their choice, regardless if it is a government, religious or private institution.
In fact, more than 60 percent of the 2,097 registered Idaho voters polled for the “Idaho K-12 School Choice Survey” support such a tax-credit scholarship system.
The poll also shows that if given the option, 59 percent of Idahoans would prefer to send their child to somewhere other than a regular public school, including charter, private, virtual and home schools.
“Parents in Idaho recognize that public schools are not always the right choice for what is best for their children’s education,” said Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
Commissioned by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and conducted by Braun Research Incorporated, the survey featured interviews with registered voters in Idaho during October and November 2011.
The poll’s key findings show:
- Fifty-one percent of Idaho voters rate the state’s public school system “poor” or “fair.”
- Many Idahoans do not know how much tax money is spent on public education in their state. Nearly one out of three voters dramatically underestimate per-student funding in public schools.
- The majority of Idaho voters (69 percent) support charter schools. Those who “strongly favor” charter schools outnumber those who “strongly oppose” charters by more than 4-1.
- Nearly half (49 percent) of Idahoans are unfamiliar with virtual schools and almost as many (43 percent) would be willing to enroll their child in such a program.
The majority of the voters surveyed said they would like to see more choice in their children’s education, and described a tax-credit scholarship system as a “good idea,” something that would “help children” and be a “good use of tax money.”
A resounding number of voters said their choice to send their child elsewhere would be based on the need for a “better quality education,” more “individual attention” and “socialization” with other children, according to the poll.
The majority of Idaho voters surveyed (57 percent) said they think K-12 education in the state is headed down the “wrong track” and state leaders are responsible for the troubles.
The survey, commissioned by The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and conducted by Braun Research Incorporated (BRI), interviewed registered voters in Idaho. A total of 2,097 telephone interviews were conducted in English from October 22 to November 6, 2011, by means of both landline and cell phone. The statewide sample included 1,202 interviews, and regional oversamples included at least 500 interviews. Statistical results were weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the statewide sample is ± 2.8 percentage points. Margin of error for each regional sample of interviews (Boise-Nampa, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls) is ± 4.4 percentage points.
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