HomeSchool Reform NewsNational, State Polls Indicate Widespread Support for Public, Private School Scholarships

National, State Polls Indicate Widespread Support for Public, Private School Scholarships

A majority of U.S. citizens favor some sort of scholarship program that would offer tax credits for individuals and businesses to assist low-income, special needs and minority students attend either public or private schools.

That’s according to results of a 2021 survey conducted by Education Next, a nonpartisan think tank based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a 2020 poll by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

The survey sheds some light on claims made in Lansing, Michigan after the state’s Senate and House passed Senate Bills 687 and 688 and House Bills 5404 and 5405 on Tuesday, which would establish Michigan Opportunity Scholarships for the benefit of low-income, minority and special needs students who may desire to attend a private school. Voting mainly was along party lines, with Republicans supporting the legislation and Democrats in opposition.

The Education Next survey indicates 56% of Americans support tax credits for programs akin to the Michigan scholarships, and 58% of parents and 54% of teachers concur. While 52% of white respondents indicated they support such programs, they were far outnumbered by the 64% of Black respondents and 66% of Hispanic respondents who support tax-credited scholarship programs.

The national poll indicated Democrats supporting tax-credit scholarship programs for private schools outnumbered Republicans, respectively at 61% and 53%.

The survey was conducted between May 28 and June 21 of this year by polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs. The total survey sample was 3,156 respondents, which overlapped a general-population sample of U.S. adults (1,410) with a sample of 2,022 U.S. parents, stepparents, or foster parents with at least one K-12 student in the household, of which 232 parents had at least one child in a charter school; 325 had at least one child in private school; 288 were Black; and 472 were Hispanic. Education Next noted the completion rate for the survey was 54%. No margin of error was indicated.

In another Education Next survey specific to Michigan, 66% of parents with scool-aged children favored some type of education voucher system, while 59% of all adults surveyed agreed.

The Education Next surveys align with a 2020 poll conducted by the Midland-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy with Ragnar Research Partners. Out of 822 individuals polled, 553 responded they were in favor of scholarship donations with 164 opposed; with 67% of both white and Black respondents in total support. Additionally, 46% of Black and 43% of white respondents strongly supported a ballot initiative to provide tax credits for student scholarships that would allow recipients attend private schools, while 23% of total respondents were “somewhat” in support and 13% strongly opposed.

The MCPP/Ragnor study also revealed the income level of its sample: 13% earned less than $25,000; 19% were from households earning $25,000 to less than $50,000; 19% were from households earning between $50,000 and less than $75,000; 18% from households earning between $75,000 and $100,000; 9% from households earning between $100,000 and $125,000; 5% from households earning between $125,000 and $150,000; and 10% from households earning more than $150,000.

Although the consensus among the survey respondents seems to indicate growing support for some type of school voucher system along the lines of the Michigan Opportunity Scholarships, it’s almost certain the bill package is dead on arrival when it reaches Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk. It’s also unlikely House and Senate Republicans can muster two-thirds of the votes in both chambers to override the governor’s vetoes.

Originally published at The Center Square. Republished with permission.

Bruce Walker
Bruce Walker
Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.


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