Oklahomans say per-student funding should follow the student

August 19, 2020

Brandon Dutcher

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?”

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.

Fund Students

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?”

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?”

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).