This recent Education Next/ Harvard (PEPG) survey of U.S. adults' opinions on education issues has been out for a bit, but everyone seems to have missed some really interesting results.
In this poll, like so many others, there is significantly more support for tax credits (53 percent) to offset private education costs than for school vouchers (45 percent), and much greater opposition to vouchers (34 percent) than to tax credits (25 percent). That leaves a 28-point margin of support for tax credits compared to just 11 points for vouchers.
And before you object that “the voucher label has been trashed by the unions!,” the possibly tainted word “voucher” doesn’t appear in the relevant survey question.
But that’s not all; most current/former employees of the government school system support tax credits, by a decisive margin of 22 percent!
I have to repeat that, because it just feels so flippin' good: Most of the people who have worked for the government school system support education tax credits.
This is truly remarkable. Even vouchers are only narrowly opposed by public school employees, by a close two-point margin.
It is clear that using tax credits to effect school choice is much more popular and less objectionable to the general public, and even to public school employees, than are vouchers. It is also clear that the word “voucher” appears to have relatively little to do with the tax credit advantage in public support.
I just wish they had asked about broad-based programs, not just ones targeted to low-income families. Polls show that the public is much more supportive of universal policies.
Education tax credits are a political win — and we in the school choice movement need to do a much better job getting politicians to see that fact.