Education

Brandon Dutcher | August 4, 2022

News 9/News On 6 survey finds support for school choice

Brandon Dutcher

A new survey of likely Republican voters in Oklahoma shows very strong support for school choice. In the exclusive News 9/News On 6 statewide poll, respondents were asked:

  • “Thinking about education in Oklahoma, school choice gives parents the right to use tax dollars associated with their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which better serves their needs. Generally speaking, do you support or oppose the concept of school choice?” Fully 73% of Oklahoma Republicans support (50% “strongly” support) school choice, while 15% oppose.

This is not surprising. The Republican party platforms, both nationally and in Oklahoma, place a strong emphasis on parental choice in education, and Republican political leaders and candidates—including frontrunners Kevin Stitt and Ryan Walters—strongly support it. At the 2016 Republican National Convention, Donald Trump, Jr. (courtesy of his speechwriter F.H. Buckley) observed that public schools are “like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers”—something that parents would eventually witness firsthand with prolonged school shutdowns. Buckley, in his new book Progressive Conservatism: How Republicans Will Become America's Natural Governing Party, makes a strong case for school choice.

But it’s not just Republicans. Surveys consistently show that support is widespread. Consider the latest monthly tracking poll (updated yesterday) commissioned by EdChoice and conducted by the firm Morning Consult. It finds that most Oklahomans (56%) would choose something other than a regular public school if given the choice. And they support letting the tax money follow the child:

  • “An ‘education savings account’ in K–12 education—often called an ESA—establishes for parents a government-authorized savings account with restricted but multiple uses for educational purposes. Parents can then use these funds to pay for: school tuition; tutoring; online education programs; therapies for students with special needs; textbooks or other instructional materials; or save for future college expenses. In general, what is your opinion of education savings accounts (ESAs)?” Fully 68% of Oklahoma adults—and an overwhelming 77% of Oklahoma parents—support ESAs.
    Brandon Dutcher Senior Vice President

    Brandon Dutcher

    Senior Vice President

    Brandon Dutcher is OCPA’s senior vice president. Originally an OCPA board member, he joined the staff in 1995. Dutcher received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma. He received a master’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public policy from Regent University. Dutcher is listed in the Heritage Foundation Guide to Public Policy Experts, and is editor of the book Oklahoma Policy Blueprint, which was praised by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman as “thorough, well-informed, and highly sophisticated.” His award-winning articles have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, WORLD magazine, Forbes.com, Mises.org, The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, and 200 newspapers throughout Oklahoma and the U.S. He and his wife, Susie, have six children and live in Edmond.

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