US & World

New Poll: School Choice Picks Up Nationwide Support

“Parents are the new interest group in town …”

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I haven’t heard much about the group American Federation for Children. My national school choice sources tell me they’re good peeps, but I know very little about them – and as our audience knows, I subscribe to the old Russian proverb, “trust, but verify.”

The Dallas-based group – which exists to “empower families, especially lower-income families, with the freedom to choose the best K-12 education for their children” – isn’t likely to stoke much controversy this week, though. Why not? Because it is publicizing survey results which seem glaringly obvious to anyone paying attention to the American political landscape.

The headline of its latest news release? “School Choice Support Soars.”

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According to a poll conducted for the group by RealClear Opinion Research, “the concept of school choice enjoys overwhelming support” among registered voters nationwide. As of last month, a whopping 71.3 percent supported it compared to only 13 percent who opposed it.

In April 2020 – prior to the onset of the great Covid-19 indoctrination – 64 percent of registered voters supported school choice.

Here is the precise wording of the question …

School choice gives parents the right to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which best serves their needs. Generally speaking, would you say you support or oppose the concept of school choice?

-RealClear Opinion Research Survey

Support for school choice is strong amongst Democrats (66 percent), Republicans (80 percent) and independents (69 percent). It is also popular among Asians (70 percent), blacks (73 percent) and Hispanics (71 percent).

“School choice support is here to stay, and politicians who ignore this reality do so at their own peril,” American Federation for Choice chief executive officer Tommy Schultz said in a statement. “Parents are the new interest group in town, and legislators would be wise to keep responding to their needs. The days of the old one-size-fits-all model are numbered, welcome news for the countless students who need something different to learn and thrive.”

For those of you keeping score at home, RealClear surveyed 1,000 registered voters from June 27-30, 2023.

Regular members of our audience know this media outlet has been aggressively and unapologetically supportive of expanded parental choice for years. Unfortunately, school choice in South Carolina is a shadow of what it should be … and of what it is in other states which have decided to prioritize the issues.

(Click to View)

Rep. Bruce Bannister, left, and Daniel Boan during a House session on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Travis Bell/STATEHOUSE CAROLINA)

“Republican” leaders in the Palmetto State – who continue to defy their stated conservative principles on multiple fronts – remain slavishly devoted to the status quo when it comes to education policy.

That status quo, of course, continues to fall further behind the rest of the nation despite receiving massive increases in taxpayer funding. Per pupil funding on South Carolina’s failed government-run system is pushing $18,000 per child, per year … totaling nearly $14 billion annually. And that’s not counting carry-forward balances hoarded by districts , federal “stimulus” funding or proceeds from local bond referendums.

Meanwhile, meaningful (and not-so-meaningful) school choice expansions continue to be shot down – even though the GOP holds supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature and total control of the state’s executive branch of government.

While choice lags in South Carolina, it is thriving elsewhere … and elected officials who support it are finding the issue resonating on the campaign trial.

During a June visit to early-voting South Carolina earlier this year, Florida governor (and 2024 presidential candidate) Ron DeSantis touted his state’s advances on the issue – including a massive universal choice bill which cleared the Sunshine State legislature earlier this year.

“Florida is No. 1 for education, No. 1 for education freedom and No. 1 for parental involvement,” DeSantis told a cheering crowd in Gilbert, S.C. on June 2, 2023.

Hopefully one day South Carolina will start moving up in these rankings … instead of continuing to bring up the rear.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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2 comments

Matt July 12, 2023 at 5:40 am

So, as someone without children can I choose to not pay any school tax?

Reply
Nanker Phelge July 12, 2023 at 12:01 pm

School Choice: Otherwise known as How To Make Public Schools Even Worse.

Reply

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