According to a new survey from Hart Research Associates, parents show disapproval for Betsy DeVos and her plan to emphasize vouchers or charter schools — and even 76% of Republican parents would prefer a focus on good neighborhood public schools instead.
During the past few Iowa legislative sessions, conservative lawmakers have proposed legislation that would shift funding away from public schools and into voucher schemes that would subsidize private and homeschool instruction. And with the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education in the Trump administration, we now see conservatives attempting to drive support for vouchers at the federal level, despite a lack of public support.
And an overwhelming number of Iowans support more government oversight for home-schooled kids. 91% believe “home-schooled children should be tested every year in reading and math to make sure they are at grade level.” The vast majority of Iowans are also in favor of local school districts being required to review lesson plans for home-school students, and support quarterly welfare checks, to avoid tragedies such as the recent death of two teenage girls who were taken out of the public school system so they could be home-schooled
Additional results from the Hart poll showed that three out of four public school parents say the public schools their children attend provide them with an excellent or good education, and 79 percent of parents are satisfied with their children’s public schools when it comes to helping their children achieve their full potential. And parents’ highest priorities for their schools are providing a safe and secure environment, developing their children’s knowledge and skills, and ensuring equal opportunity for all kids, and they are deeply concerned by efforts to cut education funding. Parents also favor a high-quality neighborhood public school over having more choices of schools for their children by 71 to 29 percent, with majorities of major-city parents, low-income parents, African-American parents and Latino parents favoring a neighborhood public school over more choice.
When parents are asked about the competing ways to address schooling, the results are equally decisive. Given the choice of the following approaches, just 20 percent endorse the DeVos agenda of vouchers and charter schools, while fully 80 percent of parents prefer a focus on good neighborhood public schools.