Brandon Dutcher | August 11, 2016
Oklahomans (still) support parental choice in education
An honest reading of the public-opinion survey data over the past couple of years shows that Oklahomans favor educational choice. But what if a pollster explored the question again now, in this climate dominated by daily news stories in which the public education community (despite $8.7 billion in annual revenue) tells us the sky is falling?
Well, SoonerPoll did just that. And though Oklahomans are concerned about school finance (the same SoonerPoll survey shows the Boren tax increase has strong support), they nonetheless favor educational choice:
“Educational choice gives parents the right to use tax dollars associated with their child's education to send their child to the public or private school which best serves their needs. Some people favor educational choice because they believe that parents, not government officials, have the moral right to determine a child's path. Other people oppose educational choice because they believe it drains money from public schools and allows only a select few students to choose a different school. Which viewpoint comes closest to your own?”
- FAVOR — parents have the moral right to choose … 51.5%
- OPPOSE — it drains money from public schools … 37.3%
- UNDECIDED … 11.2%
Looking at the results by political party, 64.1 percent of Republicans favor educational choice while 24.2 percent oppose. Among Democrats, 39.4 percent favor educational choice while 50.3 percent oppose.
Looking at the results in the two major urban centers, in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area 58.7 percent favor educational choice while 31.4 percent oppose. In the Tulsa metropolitan area 55.9 percent favor educational choice while 34.4 percent oppose.
For more details about the survey, click here. In short, says SoonerPoll CEO Bill Shapard: “Time and time again, we've asked Oklahoma voters in a variety of ways about the concept of school choice, and a majority continue to support it.”
Senior Vice President
Brandon Dutcher is OCPA’s senior vice president. Originally an OCPA board member, he joined the staff in 1995. Dutcher received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma. He received a master’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public policy from Regent University. Dutcher is listed in the Heritage Foundation Guide to Public Policy Experts, and is editor of the book Oklahoma Policy Blueprint, which was praised by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman as “thorough, well-informed, and highly sophisticated.” His award-winning articles have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, WORLD magazine, Forbes.com, Mises.org, The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, and 200 newspapers throughout Oklahoma and the U.S. He and his wife, Susie, have six children and live in Edmond.