Brandon Dutcher | August 19, 2020
Oklahomans say per-student funding should follow the student
By a two-to-one margin, Oklahomans say that if schools don’t open in the fall, parents should be able to take their tax dollars and go to another school.
This according to a statewide survey of active likely voters conducted August 10–13, 2020. The survey, with a sample size of 630 and a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percent, was commissioned by OCPA and conducted by Cor Strategies (script here, results here, methodology here).
Let the Money Follow the Child
As uncertainty continues to swirl around COVID-19, voters were asked if parents should be given more options:
“If a local school district decides not to hold classes in person, do you agree or disagree that each parent in that district should have the right to take their children and tax dollars to the school of their choice, whether public or private?”
- Strongly agree … 45%
- Somewhat agree … 18%
- Total agree ... 63%
- Somewhat disagree ... 8%
- Strongly disagree ... 23%
- Total disagree ... 31%
- Unsure ... 6%
Support is extremely high among Republicans (79% agree, 16% disagree) and very high among Independents (58% agree, 34% disagree). Among Democrats, 44% agree while 49% disagree.
Voters were also asked about putting a child’s per-student funding in the hands of parents:
“A proposal would give Oklahoma parents the opportunity to customize their child’s education. Under this proposal, the state puts the per-student funds it would have spent on a child’s education into a bank account or a digital wallet controlled by the parent. The parent can then use these funds towards the education that best meets their child’s needs from a wide variety of preapproved vendors and service providers, including private schools, virtual schools, tutoring services, and more. Do you support or oppose this idea?”
- Strongly support ... 35%
- Somewhat support ... 19%
- Total support ... 54%
- Somewhat oppose ... 11%
- Strongly oppose ... 28%
- Total oppose ... 39%
- Unsure ... 7%
Again, support is highest among Republicans (69% support, 27% oppose) and Independents (52% support, 40% oppose). Democrats oppose the idea (36% support, 56% oppose).
More Favorable View of Homeschooling
Voters were also asked about their view of homeschooling:
“With COVID-19 forcing many parents to pursue home-based education solutions, would you say your opinion on homeschooling has become more or less favorable as a result of the coronavirus?”
- Much more favorable ... 31%
- Somewhat more favorable ... 26%
- Total more favorable ... 57%
- Somewhat less favorable ... 11%
- Much less favorable ... 15%
- Total less favorable ... 26%
- Unsure ... 18%
The “more favorable” view prevailed among Republicans (62% more favorable, 21% less favorable), Independents (51% more favorable, 28% less favorable), and Democrats (52% more favorable, 28% less favorable).
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.