National survey shows mothers support school choice

A new poll finds that mothers of school-aged children aren’t happy with the direction of K-12 public education nationwide, and they are more likely to favor nontraditional, school choice options – like charter schools, private schools and the use of vouchers.

Virginia Walden Ford
Virginia Walden Ford

The telephone survey was commissioned by the Friedman Foundation and board member Virginia Walden Ford called attention to the findings about mothers: “No one knows better than a mom what education works best for their child, and mothers are crying out for more choices across our country.’’

Among the findings for moms with school-aged children:
 61 percent said K-12 education has “gotten off the wrong track.’’
• 82 percent gave private schools an A or a B compared to 44 percent for public schools.
• 63 percent favored charter schools (once pollsters defined the schools), compared to 25 percent who opposed them.
• 69 percent supported tax-credit scholarships; 19 percent did not.
• 65 percent supported education savings accounts; 25 percent opposed the reform.
• 66 percent supported school vouchers (again, after they were given a definition of the program), compared to 26 percent who opposed them. School moms are more than twice as likely to agree (66 percent) with universal eligibility, but they mostly disagree (62 percent) when eligibility is limited to financial need.
• 54 percent favor a parent trigger policy compared to 38 percent who opposed the measure.

The survey also asked about education spending, with 65 percent of the moms saying per-student funding was too low and 35 percent believing public schools spent $4,000 or less per student. When they were informed that the national average was about $10,652 per student, the number of moms who thought the funding was too low dropped to 50 percent.

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BY Sherri Ackerman

Sherri Ackerman is the former associate editor of redefinED. She is a former correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times and reporter for The Tampa Tribune, writing about everything from cops and courts to social services and education. She grew up in Indiana and moved to Tampa as a teenager, graduating from Brandon High School and, later, from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/news editing. Sherri passed away in March 2016.


I think when you print pieces like this it does the pro choice crowd more harm than good. A pro choice think tank says parents are pro-choice is not very compelling, it will sway nobody who might be on the fence accept for people who don’t like biased propaganda, those people will move away from the pro choice movement. Have UF do somethng and maybe we cna have a disussion but until then, this was hardly credible.

Sherri Ackerman

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Chris, and for reading us. When/if UF does something, I hope we write about that, too.

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