Arizona Voters Strongly Favor Educational Options for Families, New Poll Finds
PHOENIX, May 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A majority of Arizona voters favor private school choice measures of all kinds, including scholarship tax credits, education savings accounts, and special needs scholarships, according to a survey released yesterday by the American Federation for Children (AFC)–the nation’s voice for school choice–and the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (HCREO).
Favorability was strongest among Arizona respondents on the subject of special needs scholarships, in which 71 percent expressed support. Arizona is the only state in the country with two currently-operating special needs scholarship programs. A majority (56 percent) of respondents also said they support education savings accounts–Arizona is the only state in the country with such a program, the recently-expanded Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) Program—while three in five voters (60 percent) are favorable to scholarship tax credit programs.
The poll, conducted by Democratic-leaning polling firm Beck Research, surveyed likely voters in five states–Arizona, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Nevada–with an oversample of Latino voters.
“The multitude of different options available to Arizona families continues to be met with strong approval, as these results show,” said House Majority Whip Debbie Lesko (R). “As recent expansions have shown, people are seeing the benefits of school choice and demanding even more educational opportunities for their families.”
Earlier this week, Governor Jan Brewer approved legislation that will expand the ESA program–currently designed for special needs students–to students in failing schools, students of military personnel, and foster care children. Earlier this year, legislators also passed a bill that will expand the state’s Individual School Tuition Organization Tax Credit, the oldest scholarship tax credit program in the nation.
More than 30,000 students participate in Arizona’s four publicly funded private school choice programs.
In addition to strong support among Grand Canyon State residents, the survey showed strong support for parental choice and broader education reforms among Latinos nationally. Education ranks behind only the economy and jobs as the most important consideration among likely Latino voters.
Fifty-three percent of Latino voters also cited education as central to improving our country’s economic situation.
The Beck Research survey interviewed a total of 1,050 likely November voters, including an oversample of 300 Latinos. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3.6 percent.
SOURCE American Federation for Children and Hispanic CREO