Brandon Dutcher | April 8, 2015

Oklahomans want school choices

Brandon Dutcher

A recent SoonerPoll survey of likely Oklahoma voters (sample size 506; margin of error ±4.34%) discovered that voters favor educational choice policies — including charter schools, vouchers, tax credits, and education savings accounts. I encourage you to read all the survey results here, but I want to spotlight two questions in particular which cut to the heart of the matter.

First, it’s clear that Oklahoma voters are hungry for educational options. As you can see, roughly 4 in 10 would choose a traditional public school, while nearly 6 in 10 would choose something else:

“If it were your decision and you could select any type of school, what type of school would you select in order to obtain the best education for your child?” [READ AND ROTATE]

  • Traditional public school … 40.4%
  • Charter school … 8.1%
  • Private or parochial school … 43.2%
  • Home school … 7.0%
  • DK/Refused/No opinion … 1.4%

Next, we have what I believe is the most important question in the survey. Allow each side to put forth its best argument, and let the chips fall where they may. As you can see, the parental-choice proponents trump the status-quo folks by more than 10 points (52.5% to 41.8%):

“Some people say that educational choice programs — such as vouchers, tax credits, and ESAs — give parents the power to choose the school that works best for their child and puts pressure on all schools to do a better job educating children. Other people say that educational choice programs rob public schools of the funds they need to improve and allow a select few students to get a better education while other students are trapped in their current schools. Which viewpoint comes closest to your own?” [PROBE: STRONGLY/SOMEWHAT]

  • Strongly “power to choose” … 36.8%
  • Somewhat “power to choose” … 15.7%
  • Neutral/DK/No opinion … 5.7%
  • Somewhat “robs public schools” … 13.9%
  • Strongly “robs public schools” … 27.9%

In short, yet another survey shows that Oklahomans want options (Jason Bedrick discusses some other recent polling here). Here’s hoping policymakers will soon deliver. After all, it is parents — not government officials — who have the moral right to determine a child’s path.

Brandon Dutcher Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher

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,,, 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.

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