Poll Shows Pennsylvanians Favor School Choice

Member Group : Commonwealth Foundation

Commonwealth Foundation sponsoring forum on education vouchers, state budget and spending cuts in wake of poll results

HARRISBURG, PA (11.09.10) — Pennsylvania voters elected a Governor last Tuesday who is committed to school choice, sending a message that our children’s right to an excellent education is one they are not willing to compromise.

The Commonwealth Foundation reinforced this message by releasing a poll today that shows that half of Pennsylvanians support education vouchers in their state. The poll, conducted one day before the election, revealed that 50 percent of Pennsylvanians think that education vouchers should be used for those who want to send their children to a private school, rather than paying taxes to a public school that may be underperforming or failing.

Additionally, those polled feel strongly that all students should have the option to receive the vouchers, as opposed to merely low-income students in underperforming schools. Of the 500 polled, 67 percent prefer that all students be eligible to receive vouchers, with 20 percent stating that vouchers should go only to low-income students or those in schools with poor performance. Fourteen percent were undecided.

"These numbers are compelling," said Matthew J. Brouillette, President and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation and a former teacher and school board member. "It’s clear that Pennsylvanians not only want school choice for their own children, but support those in the quest to place their kids in schools and educational programs best-suited to these families. We’ve always argued that students should have the freedom to break away from underperforming schools rather than be forced to attend a school based merely on where they live. And now we see that most Pennsylvanians feel the same way."

The poll, conducted Nov. 1 by Pulse Opinion Research, asked 500 likely voters in the state their views on tax credit funded scholarships, education vouchers, and the students who should be eligible for these programs. Forty-six percent of those polled supported the concept of Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit, which provides companies with a 75 percent tax credit for donations to a non-profit scholarship or educational improvement organization. Thirty percent were opposed to the credits and 24 percent were undecided.

The complete poll results can be accessed at CommonwealthFoundation.org.
In light of these poll results, and in the wake of newsworthy election issues that have emerged, the Commonwealth Foundation will sponsor a Nov. 15 Policies & Principles Luncheon on issues surrounding the recent election, namely school choice, the state budget, spending cuts, and privatizing liquor sales.
Those confirmed to attend the forum include former Democratic Pennsylvania House Speaker Bob O’Donnell, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee Sen. Jeff Piccola, and Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny). Also invited are Rep. Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) and Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia).

Policies & Principles Luncheon
Time: Noon — 1:30 p.m.
Date: Monday, Nov. 15
Location: Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, 225 State St., Harrisburg

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The Commonwealth Foundation (www.CommonwealthFoundation.org) is an independent, non-profit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg, PA.