NEPC Review: Reports on 10 state public opinion surveys on K-12 school choice (October 2008)
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice has published 10 state reports based on surveys of likely voters in those states. According to the reports, the surveys demonstrate state residents’ endorsement of vouchers allowing parents to send children to private schools. This review finds this conclusion suspect due to several factors. Too many people contacted by phone failed to participate in the survey, thus compromising the generalizability of findings. In addition, many of those surveyed did not know about the educational issues on the surveys, such as voucher policies. These problems were exacerbated by potentially biased wording of questions, which may have resulted in more responses favorable to vouchers. By contrast, a much smaller percentage of respondents in Gallup surveys, especially individuals with children in public schools, support the use of vouchers. Moreover, the actual survey data indicate that state populations were much more divided over vouchers than the report summaries would indicate. Contrary to the authors’ claims, the data provide little evidence that state public officials will increase their electability by supporting school choice policies.
Suggested Citation: Lorence, J. & Dworkin, A.G. (2008). Review of Reports on 10 state public opinion surveys on K-12 school choice. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. Retrieved [date] from http://epicpolicy.org/thinktank/review-voucher-surveys