To the Editor:
Your Report Roundup news item “School Choice in Illinois” (Jan. 30, 2008), on the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation poll purportedly showing support for school vouchers in Illinois, was misleading. The actual poll results showed that responses were confusing and contradictory, and that the poll itself was nowhere near as good as the annual Phi Delta Kappan/Gallup polls.
What the Friedman poll did show is that 48 percent of respondents attributed public school problems to school and classroom overcrowding, with 14 percent citing underfunding; that “universal school choice” (another name for vouchers for all kids) was opposed, 59 percent to 41 percent; that by 32 percent to 29 percent, respondents thought vouchers would help only the wealthy; that by 36 percent to 30 percent, they said competition would not improve education; and that by 32 percent to 23 percent, they felt accountability would suffer. Also, it showed that 21 percent of respondents reported that their largest concern about vouchers was that they would harm public schools in poor areas, and that 39 percent were most concerned that vouchers would take money away from public schools.
Isn’t it interesting that some polls claim support for vouchers, while referendum elections register opposition at about 2-to-1?
Americans for Religious Liberty
Silver Spring, Md.
A version of this article appeared in the February 13, 2008 edition of Education Week as Poll Results on Vouchers Differ From Referendums’