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Voucher Opposition is Hardening, Poll Finds

Opposition to private school tuition vouchers is hardening, according to a new poll released by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

The center found that African-American opposition to vouchers rose from 37% in 2000 to almost 43% in 2002. Support for vouchers remained unchanged at 57%.

“Support for private school tuition vouchers in a vacuum – without the context of other education reforms or the obstacles to getting into private schools – is one thing,” NEA President Reg Weaver said.

“But African-American parents are not fooled,” Weaver said. “The real issue for African-Americans remains whether or not our policymakers and political leaders will provide the resources it takes to ensure free quality public education.”

“African-Americans and other minorities want high standards, safe schools, and the quality teachers and small classes that all parents want for their children,” Weaver added.

The center’s poll also found that, contrary to what some strategists and pundits believe, support for vouchers does not translate into support for pro-voucher Republican candidates. Republican candidates and their allies have run pro-voucher advertising on African-American media in a number of races, including Missouri, Arkansas, and South Carolina.

“Vouchers are predominately a political – not an educational – strategy,” Weaver said. “We know that vouchers don’t work to help student achievement. Now there is growing evidence they don’t work politically either.”

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Posted November 15, 2002

Education News