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(Columbus, Ohio, May 21, 2009) More than eight out of ten Ohio residents would have their children educated in a private, charter, virtual, or home school setting if they had the opportunity, according to the results of a public opinion survey released today by School Choice Ohio and several other state and national organizations. Eighty-three percent of residents polled would opt for schools other than traditional public schools, according to the survey.
The survey was conducted in February by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, an Indianapolis-based school reform advocacy organization. It found strong levels of support for the state’s existing three school choice programs, with support cutting across party lines. Sixty-one percent of those polled favor the Autism Scholarship Program, 58 percent support the Educational Choice Scholarship Program, and 53 percent favor the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring program.
“The results of this survey confirm what we have known all along in Ohio, parents want an environment where they believe their child can be successful,” said Chad Aldis, executive director of School Choice Ohio. “One size clearly does not fit all in the schooling of our children.”
Education has dominated recent discussion at the Statehouse, as the House and Senate have considered the provisions of Governor Strickland’s education reform plan. “It should be clear to Ohio’s leaders that parents in this state want school choice,” said Senator Jon Husted (R-Kettering). “Just last week, thousands of parents attended a rally on the Statehouse lawn for community schools and over 13,000 other parents applied for the Educational Choice Scholarship Program. This survey is even more evidence that parents will and should continue to be the driving force behind education reform in Ohio.”
This is similar to the results found in other places where surveys have been conducted. “As we have found in several other states, parents in Ohio want more educational options than the current system is providing,” said Paul DiPerna of the Friedman Foundation. “There are solid levels of support for the three existing school choice programs, as well as for general school choice concepts. This support cuts across numerous demographic groups.”
When asked “if it were your decision and you could select any type of school, what type of school would you select in order the obtain the best education for your child,” here’s how likely voters in the state responded:
The survey demonstrates a wide disconnect between schooling preferences and actual school enrollments. Currently, only 10 percent of the state’s students attend private schools and approximately 4 percent attend charter schools. The vast majority, 86 percent, attend traditional public schools. The implication of these results is that Ohio, like many other states, does not have sufficient school choice systems in place to match parents’ schooling preferences.
Other results of the survey:
The scientifically representative poll of 1,200 likely Ohio voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
In addition to School Choice Ohio and the Friedman Foundation, other sponsors of the survey include Agudath Israel of America, the Alliance for School Choice, Association of Christian Schools International - Ohio River Valley Region, Center for Education Reform, Children’s Scholarship Fund of Greater Cincinnati, Democrats for Education Reform, and Ohio BAEO – Black Alliance for Educational Options.
The Ohio findings are the latest in a series of surveys commissioned under the Friedman Foundation’s Survey in the State project. Previous surveys include Rhode Island, Vermont, and Oregon released earlier this year; and Montana, Maryland, Oklahoma, Idaho, Tennessee, and Nevada, released during 2008. The Foundation also polled voters in four states, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Illinois from 2005 to 2007.
The full survey results can be found at www.friedmanfoundation.org
About School Choice Ohio
School Choice Ohio (SCO) is committed to the goal of every child in Ohio having access to a quality education. Because this is not yet a reality, the organization works tirelessly to educate both the public and our leaders on the importance of empowering parents to find the best educational setting for the needs of their children. SCO believes that all parents should have the opportunity to choose which school is best for their children, regardless of their income level.