new poll from Education Next shows a surge in support for educational choice programs nationwide. Across the board, support is up for publicly funded school-choice scholarships, tax-credit scholarships, and public charter schools.

And not only is public support for school choice on the rise, it has jumped from plurality to majority support on several key data points:

  • Support for publicly funded school-choice scholarships jumped from 45% in 2017 to 54% in 2018. More parents than ever support these scholarships—61%, up from 52% in 2017.
  • While 43% support school-choice scholarships for low-income students, 56% of African American and 62% of Hispanic respondents favor them.
  • Hispanic families in particular see the benefits of educational choice, with support for publicly funded school-choice scholarships increasing from 49% in 2017 to 67% in 2018.

Other insights:

  • Support for public charter schools increased from 39% in 2017 to 44% in 2018.
  • Opposition to publicly funded school-choice scholarships has decreased 13 percentage points since 2016, from 44% to 31% today.

While these results are good news for school-choice proponents nationwide, here in Georgia we continue to be a trendsetter in educational opportunity—ranking seventh nationally thanks to a series of school-choice laws passed since 2008, including the Tax Credit Scholarship Program and the Special Needs Scholarship Program.

All told, Georgia’s school choice programs have delivered impressive results—with more than 17,000 students benefitting in the 2016-17 school year, including 13,600 children participating in the tax credit scholarship program and 4,000 receiving tuition assistance through the Special Needs Scholarship Program.

And these programs are popular across key demographics such as political affiliation, age, and race. In Georgia, 84% of Republicans, 67% of Independents, and 55% of Democrats support school choice. Among Millennials and minorities, support is even stronger—and growing—with 74% of Latinos, 72% of African Americans, and 75% of Millennials in favor.

Even though most students will continue to be educated in traditional public schools, it’s nice to see the latest Education Next poll confirm nationally what we already know here in Georgia:  School-choice options empower parents to make the best educational decisions for their children and give them the best shot to live a flourishing life.

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