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INDIANAPOLIS – Nearly five years after Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program, which assists low-and-middle income students and students with special needs with vouchers to attend the school of their choice, was enacted, an overwhelming majority of Hoosiers support the program, yet at the same time, Hoosiers are generally unhappy with the status of public education in the state.

In a poll developed and reported by The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, and conducted by Braun Research, Inc., nearly 70 percent of those surveyed favor the Choice Scholarship Program with only 26 percent opposing it. More specifically, support registers at 73 percent among Independents, at over 80 percent among those with low income, 82 percent with 18-34 year olds and 73 percent with those from small towns. The program is also very popular among self-described Democrats, with 62 percent giving Indiana’s school voucher program their approval. And surprisingly, nearly 59 percent of those who approve of the job Glenda Ritz has done as Superintendent of Public Instruction favor the Choice Scholarship Program.

“An overwhelming and bipartisan majority is drawn to the opportunities and assistance that the Choice Scholarship Program provides parents and families,” said Friedman Foundation President and CEO Robert Enlow. “But it’s also clear that Hoosiers are not happy with our public education system today.”

Enlow added, “School choice is more important to the State of Indiana in 2016 than it was when first enacted in 2011.”

The data also shows most Hoosiers have a negative view of Indiana’s K-12 public education system. The poll found that 54 percent believe public education in the state is on the “wrong track.” Conversely, just under 33 percent said it was going in the “right direction.” Interestingly, the “wrong track” view was consistent regardless of geography, residential classification or political affiliation.

National School Choice Week will be celebrated January 24-30, 2016.

Key Poll Findings
An overwhelming majority of Hoosiers support Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program, which assists low-and-middle income students and students with special needs with vouchers to attend the school of their choice.

·        According to the poll, nearly 70 percent of those surveyed favor the Choice Scholarship Program and just 26 percent oppose it.

o   Among Independents, 73 percent favor the program, outpacing support among Democrats and Republicans.

o   Among those with low income, support for the program was over 80 percent.

·        The Choice Scholarship Program also is very popular among self-described Democrats and those who approve of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz’s performance in office.

o   62 percent of self-described Democrats and nearly 59 percent of those who approve of the job Glenda Ritz has done favor the Choice Scholarship Program.

·        According to the poll, most respondents who favor the Choice Scholarship Program do so because of the opportunities and choice that it provides to parents.

 

Most Hoosiers have a negative view of Indiana’s K-12 education system and aren’t happy with where we are today.

·        According to the poll, 54 percent of those surveyed believe that Indiana’s K-12 public education system is on the “wrong track” while just under 33 percent believe we are going in the right direction. The “wrong track” view was consistent regardless of geography, residential classification or political affiliation.

o   Statewide nearly 60 percent of parents with children in school believe we are on the “wrong track.”

·        Similarly, 54 percent of those surveyed would rate Indiana’s K-12 public education system as ‘fair’ or ‘poor.’

o   African-Americans and those living in urban areas were far more likely to rate the state’s public schools as ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ than those of other ethnicities or those living in small towns or suburban or rural areas.

§  Among urbanities, over 65 percent rated their schools ‘fair’ or ‘poor.’

§  Among African-Americans, 71 percent ranked their schools ‘fair’ or ‘poor.’

 

More comprehensive findings can be accessed in the document found here.

The poll surveyed a statistically representative statewide sample of 1,002 Hoosiers between November 11-December 1, 2015, and has a margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points. There was a subsequent oversampling to reach a desired sample size in five regional subgroups. That data will be released at a later time. The poll was conducted by Braun Research, Inc. and reported by The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.