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POLITICIANS SLOW TO EMBRACE ACADEMIC FREEDOM … 

Recent polling in South Carolina showed a major uptick in support for school choice.  Is that part of a national trend, though?

According to new data released by Education Next , the answer to that question is “yes.”

“Do Americans support the expansion of choice, especially when it is targeted to disadvantaged students?” the questioners ask.  “The answer, it seems, depends on how the program is structured.”

Really?

Because it seems to us as though the response was across-the-board positive …

Sixty percent of respondents support tax credit programs that permit individuals and businesses to contribute to scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) – groups that “distribute private-school scholarships to low-income families.”  Only twenty-six percent oppose such programs.  Meanwhile 51 percent support vouchers for children stuck in failing public schools compared to only thirty-five percent who oppose.  Fifty percent support universal vouchers, compared to 39 percent who oppose.

That’s strong majority support, people … for multiple levels of academic freedom.

Here in the Palmetto State, political leaders have been slow to embrace choice – belatedly approving a limited scholarship program for special needs students.  This special needs-only program has been a rousing success, but much more choice is needed to move the achievement needle – especially seeing as our state’s worst-in-the-nation government-run system continues to lose ground (while further dumbing down its standards).

The Education Next  survey was conducted in May and June 2014 of an estimated 5,000 respondents.  The latest South Carolina data – from April of this year – found that 66.1 percent of South Carolinians support “tax deductions for people who donate money to organizations that provide scholarships for children to attend private or religious schools.”

That’s good news for a movement that has struggled in the court of opinion thanks to the local mainstream media’s slavish devotion to the status quo …