In the debates over school choice, it’s often politicians and policy wonks who voice their opinions. But what do average citizens and parents have to say? After all, policies related to schools impact them most directly.
With school starting this week across Michigan, it’s worth taking a moment to see what people think about their schools and the options they want.
Overall, there is strong support for school choice among likely voters, according to a survey released last week by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Marketing Resource Group conducted the poll, interviewing more than 800 individuals.
Here are some of the key findings:
■“Fifty-nine percent of Michigan(ians) believe parents have the right amount of choice in determining where their children will attend school; 24 percent think parents have too little choice.”
■“Likely voters favor charter schools by a 2-to-1 margin (55 to 26 percent), while 80 percent expressed support for students’ ability to choose charter schools.”
■“Support for all forms of school choice — including charter schools, tax-credit scholarships, and education savings accounts — was as high or higher among African-American respondents as it was for all respondents.”
As Ben DeGrow, education policy director at the Mackinac Center, stated, “Lawmakers should take note that, despite the onslaught of attacks on educational freedom in Michigan, public opinion is very much in favor of school choice.”
Charter schools are under attack in Michigan and nationwide despite the fact many of these schools are showing real results for students. Parents understand this impact, and their opinion matters.