Public education is one of the cornerstones of our society, and the vast majority of Americans believe it is the great equalizer. Approximately nine of every 10 students attend public schools, and they are entitled to the highest quality education possible.

The "education freedom scholarships" mentioned in the State of the Union address would harm millions of students and the idea fails to recognize the myriad of choices that exist in public schools. Instead of trying to privatize education we should invest in the future of more than 50 million students, by providing them with teachers and the resources they need to succeed in school and life.

The more than 50 million students currently in public schools and the generations of students to follow are the future. A poll by the National School Boards Action Center (NSBAC) found that nearly two-thirds of voters think funding for public schools should be increased. And, 73% of voters indicate that inadequate funding and resources for public education is a problem that needs to be addressed. 64% of voters are much less likely to vote for an elected official who supports taking away funds from public schools to give to private schools, including forty-seven percent who would be much less likely to do so.

Make no mistake, voters are crystal clear that they do not want public taxpayer dollars to be taken from public schools to provide income to private or parochial schools, or to fund home schooling.

The public across the political spectrum say they want more funding to help public schools address school safety, teacher quality, teacher shortages and teaching real-world skills. They also want students to have easier access to technology in and out of the classroom.

Voters spoke very clearly in the NSBAC poll. They believe this is the time to invest in public education. They want policymakers to take positive action to enhance public education, not ignore public schools or take action that would harm millions of students.

Notes

The data comes from a poll, “America Speaks on Public Schools: Results from the 2020 NSBAC Public Education Poll,” conducted by the National School Boards Action Center. The results of the poll were released on February 3, 2020.

The findings in the poll are based on the results of a nationally representative survey of 1,000 likely 2020 voters. There was an oversampling of 100 African Americans, 100 Latinx, 100 parents of school-age children and 100 battleground state voters, which allowed for a more in-depth look and examination of attitudes and the importance of public schools.

The poll was conducted by a bipartisan team of Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners and Bob Carpenter of Chesapeake Beach Consulting.

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