New Poll: Indiana Voters Support Choice in Education, Substantially Underestimate Public Education Spending

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A new survey of Indiana voters by The Foundation for Educational Choice shows that the Hoosier State broadly supports vouchers and charter schools. It also shows that most hoosiers are unaware of how much is spent in public schools.

Voters in Indiana decidedly favor school vouchers and charter schools, and desire a balanced variety of options when it comes to educating their children, according to a poll released today by the Indianapolis-based Foundation for Educational Choice.

The poll—“Indiana K-12 & School Choice Survey”—also reveals that Indiana voters are unaware of how much is spent in public schools; most respondents substantially underestimated per-student spending.

“Hoosiers see the tremendous value in giving families options,” said Robert Enlow, President and CEO of The Foundation for Educational Choice. “If a school voucher, charter school, private, or home school can give a child an effective, personalized education, that child has a right to receive it. This poll shows Indiana voters agree.”

Braun Research Inc. conducted phone interviews with more than 3,400 Hoosier registered voters November 12-17, 2010.That firm’s president, Paul Braun, expressed confidence in the accuracy of the study’s results, due to “thorough briefings stressing objectivity, heavy monitoring, sample performance reviews, verifications and post-data-collection checks on each survey by interviewer and phone center.”

The following are the poll’s key findings:

  • Indiana voters are unsatisfied with the current public education system. On average, registered voters in Indiana are more likely to think K-12 education is on the “wrong track” (51 percent) compared to the “right direction” (31 percent). Indiana voters describe the state’s public school system more often as “fair” or “poor” (55 percent) versus “good” or “excellent” (42 percent).
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  • Indiana voters lack awareness and information about how much is spent in public schools. Nearly two out of three respondents (64 percent) underestimated per-student spending in the public schools.
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  • Hoosiers support charter schools. Indiana voters are far more likely to favor charter schools (66 percent) than to oppose such schools (16 percent). Respondents who said they “strongly favor” charter schools outnumber those who say they “strongly oppose” by a four-to-one ratio.
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  • Hoosiers support school vouchers. Indiana voters are far more likely to favor school vouchers (66 percent) than to oppose them (24 percent).
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  • Indiana voters indicate they should have a variety of schooling options. If they had the option to select any type of school to obtain the best education for their child, 41 percent said they would choose a private school, 10 percent a charter school, and 7 percent a home school.

“This poll shows most Indiana voters do not realize how many of their tax dollars are being spent on an education system they do not even consider effective,” said Enlow. “Giving families the freedom to choose the education that’s best for their children would ensure funds were spent more effectively, and it would give every child access to the education they deserve.”

To see a summary of survey results, a series of PowerPoint slides highlighting key findings, and description of the methodology, visit http://www.EdChoice.org/IN-Survey

Braun Research callers interviewed 1,017 registered voters in Indiana to produce an initial statewide sample. Braun Research then made additional phone calls to achieve at least 350 total completed interviews in each of eight counties. The margin of sampling error for the statewide survey is ±3.1 percentage points and approximately ± 5.4 percentage points for each of the eight countywide samples.

About The Foundation for Educational Choice

The Foundation for Educational Choice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, solely dedicated to advancing Milton and Rose Friedman’s vision of school choice for all children. First established as the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in 1996, the Foundation continues to promote school choice as the most effective and equitable way to improve the quality of K-12 education in America. The Foundation is dedicated to research, education, and outreach on the vital issues and implications related to choice and competition in K-12 education.

Please visit our website to read the full study at http://www.EdChoice.org/IN-Survey .

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