Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Madonna Poll shows 67% of Pennsylvanians oppose giving public money to parents so they can send their children to private school

N E W S  R E L E A S E

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION                                           01-26-11-03
Tim Allwein, Assistant Executive Director, Governmental & Member Relations
Pennsylvania School Boards Association
(717) 506-2450, ext. 3325

Poll shows public opposes the concept of
taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers

According to a recent public opinion poll, most Pennsylvanians oppose giving public tax money to parents so they can send their children to a private school. The poll presents the findings of a survey of 805 Pennsylvania adults designed by Terry Madonna Opinion Research. The sample error for the total sample is plus or minus 3.5%.
“As proponents gear up for pushing taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers through the legislature, the results of this survey show there clearly is not the public support for such a program,” said PSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “If improving public education is truly the goal, the governor and General Assembly would be well advised to take up more widely supported initiatives such as relief from unfunded mandates currently burdening school entities.”
There are some studies that claim the public supports vouchers. However, the Terry Madonna Opinion Research study used the term “taxpayer-funded” when describing tuition vouchers. Understanding this distinction, respondents overwhelmingly said “no” to tuition vouchers.
The survey results show:
• About two out of three Pennsylvanians (67%) oppose giving public money to parents so they can send their children to a private school. Only a small minority (13.7%) of Pennsylvanians strongly favor taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers. Most older Pennsylvanians, aged 55 or older, oppose taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers and, in fact, 51% strongly oppose them. Over 70% of individuals surveyed under the age of 34, strongly or somewhat oppose tuition vouchers, more so than any other respondent age group.

• For respondents declaring a political affiliation, a majority of  both Democrats and Republicans indicate opposition to taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers. Democrats more so than Republicans, however, oppose taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers 69% to 58%, respectively. Independents also do not embrace tuition vouchers with 68% of them indicating that they either somewhat or strongly oppose them.

• Regardless of zip code, opposition to tuition vouchers is universally held across all Pennsylvania regions. More than two-thirds of Pennsylvanians oppose tuition vouchers in all areas of the state except in the northeast (61% oppose tuition vouchers) and the southwest (64% oppose tuition vouchers).

• Strong opposition to tuition vouchers is almost equally shared by whites and non-whites alike. More than two-thirds (69%) of non-white individuals indicated that they somewhat or strongly oppose taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers. This is slightly more than whites where 66% said the same. Only 10% of non-white respondents said they strongly favor taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers.

• Two-thirds of Pennsylvanians (66%) oppose state law that requires school districts to pay the tuition of students attending privately operated charter and cyber charter schools. Like the issue of vouchers, Pennsylvanians hold very strong opinions on charter school tuition.  Respondents holding opinions of strong opposition against charter tuition payment by school districts (44%) is almost four times greater than those strongly favoring tuition payments to charters by districts (11%).

PSBA is a nonprofit statewide association of public school boards, pledged to the highest ideals of local lay leadership for the public schools of the commonwealth. Founded in 1895, PSBA was the first school boards association established in the United States.

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