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Majority support universal school choice

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — A wide majority of Wisconsin voters support expanding Wisconsin’s parental school choice program, just as faith in public schools falls, according to the latest Marquette Law School poll.

Legislation that would allow all students statewide (regardless of family income) to use vouchers to attend private or religious schools is supported by 59 percent of voters, with 37 percent opposing, according to the poll.

The latest numbers are dramatically up since August 2020, when 41 percent said they supported “taxpayer-funded vouchers to be used for private or religious schools.”

The change may have much to do with the state of public education in the Badger State. A majority of respondents — 55 percent, say public schools are in worse shape than a few years ago, and only 9 percent say there are better now. In August 2018, 44 percent said schools had gotten worse, while 49 percent said public schools had gotten better or were about the same.

A new poll from Real Clear Opinion Research finds overall support for school choice is increasing as parents seek more options than ever.

The concept of school choice enjoys overwhelming support — 72 percent versus 18 percent opposed. This is also true across party lines, with 68 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of Republicans, and 67 percent of Independents saying they support such a policy.

“This represents sizable increases in school choice support since the pandemic began,” the American Federation for Children said in a press release.  “Parents across the state want to explore the educational options available to them. We need to fund students, not systems.”

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