by Edd Doerr
The Gallup/Phi Delta Kappa poll released today (Aug 21) shows that 70% of Americans polled oppose school vouchers and tax-credit "neo-vouchers". This closely matches the 2 to 1 opposition registered in 27 statewide referendum elections from coast to coast, from Alaska to Florida and from Massachusetts to California and states in between.
The question used: "Do you favor or oppose allowing students and parents to choose a private school to attend at public expense?" This very neutral wording made no mention of the sectarian religious nature of the vast majority of private schools, of their selectivity, or of the fact that tax support of private schools would fragment the school population along creedal, ethnic, class and other lines.
Over the years the primary political thrust for vouchers and similar schemes has come from the Republican Party in Congress and state legislatures and from the Religious Right and the Catholic bishops.
More details on the Gallup/PDK poll will appear in the next issue of Americans for Religious Liberty's journal Voice of Reason, deu off the press in two weeks.
For more details on the state referenda and vouchers in general, see my monograph "The Great School Voucher Fraud" at arlinc.org.