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ERIC Number: ED508321
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Pages: 36
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Virginia's Opinion on K-12 Education and School Choice. School Choice Survey in the State
DiPerna, Paul
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
This statistically representative survey of 1,203 likely Virginia voters illustrates public opinion on a wide range of K-12 education issues. The underlying purpose of the Friedman Foundation's state surveys is to measure voter knowledge and attitudes toward public institutions and policies, innovative ideas, and the state's K-12 education system. The survey results shed light on the major disconnect between parental schooling preferences and actual school enrollments. 40% of parents said they would prefer a regular public school for their child. Approximately 90% of Virginia's enrolled K-12 students attend regular public schools. 39% of K-12 parents say they would like to send their child to a private school. In reality, however, approximately 9% of Virginia's K-12 students attend private schools. 11% of parents in our survey would prefer to homeschool their child. According to data collected by the Virginia Department of Education, just under 2% of the state's children are homeschooled. 8% of parents say they would like to send their child to a charter school. Currently there are only three charter schools in operation in Virginia, serving approximately 190 students. Findings include: (1) The state's Democrats (D), Republicans (R), and Independents (I) share common ground on tax-credit scholarships and school vouchers; (2) More Virginians say the state's public school system is either "good" or "excellent" (62%) rather than "fair" or "poor" (31%); (3) Virginia voters do not know the per-pupil costs within the public school system; (4) When asked, "if it were your decision and you could select any type of school, what type of school would you select in order the obtain the best education for your child?", likely voters in the state responded: Regular Public Schools (42%); Private Schools (35%); Charter Schools (10%); Homeschooling (9%); and Virtual Schools (1%); (5) Virginians are much more likely to favor (65%) a tax-credit scholarship system, rather than oppose (23%) such a system; (6) When asked about school vouchers, 57% of likely voters say they favor them, compared to 35% who oppose; (7) A large majority of Virginians (79%) favor a recent proposal to allow school vouchers for special needs students; (8) Virginia voters clearly favor performance pay for teachers. They are much more likely to favor (62%), rather than oppose (28%), such a policy; (9) Respondents were presented a series of statements, and were asked whether a given scenario was likely or unlikely to occur "if a tax-credit scholarship system is implemented in Virginia." The following are respondent forecasts: 79% say it is unlikely "Public schools will close;" 79% say it is likely "Parents will need better information for decisions;" 72% say it is likely "Parents will have more options;" 72% say it is likely "Public schools and private schools will have incentives to improve;" 61% say it is likely "Public schools and private schools will compete for students;" 59% say it is unlikely "Private schools will not be accountable;" and 50% say it is likely "Parents will have more power." (Contains 5 footnotes.) [The poll for this report was conducted by Braun Research, Inc.]
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Available from: Foundation for Educational Choice. One American Square Suite 2420, Indianapolis, IN 46282. Tel: 317-681-0745; Fax: 317-681-0945; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
Identifiers - Location: Virginia