Funding | October 18, 2023

Landmark poll: Amer⁠i⁠cans bel⁠i⁠eve expand⁠i⁠ng freedom s⁠t⁠reng⁠t⁠hens educa⁠t⁠⁠i⁠on

Nearly two-thirds of parents believe additional options will improve education system in first-ever national poll 

Arlington, Va. — Americans believe expanding educational freedom will improve our nation’s education system, according to a new landmark poll conducted by YouGov and released by yes. every kid. foundation. A majority of Americans surveyed — including most Democrats, Independents and Republicans — indicated support for ending residential school assignment (67%), expanding access to Education Savings Accounts (63%), and education tax credits (66%).

Furthermore, Americans believe these options would strengthen education throughout the country. This marks the first-ever national poll gauging Americans’ views on the impacts of education freedom initiatives on the broader education system.  

“Americans believe more education options will improve our nation’s education system,” said Matt Frendewey, vice president of the yes. every kid. foundation. “A child’s access to a great education should not be determined by their family’s income or where they live. By expanding opportunities for families to customize the education to meet their kids’ needs, we can improve education more broadly. We will continue to listen to Americans, while empowering families by removing barriers to learning.” 

By more than a 10-to-1 margin (84% to 8%), Americans support giving every child in the United States the ability to attend the public school in their state that best meets their needs, regardless of where they live. That includes support from Black and Hispanic respondents (92% and 85%, respectively), Democrats (88%) and Americans without a four-year college degree (86%).

The findings reveal that Americans do not believe boundaries between students and the schools they wish to attend should exist. Most respondents (54%), with 61% of parents, believe that ending residential assignment — school zones — would improve the nation’s education system, compared to 17% who were unsure. Over half of Black and Hispanic respondents said that removing residential assignments can create better learning opportunities.

Too often, a family’s zip code determines the educational experience that their child has access to; but that standardized approach has exacerbated inequities. Americans are seeking change and new opportunities that help children to succeed. 

Americans overwhelmingly support having a say on how and where their child is educated. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (63% support, 35% strongly support) — by a more than 3-to-1 margin — support ESAs, with only 19% opposed. Over half of those surveyed (55%), including 63% of parents, said that if access to ESAs were expanded, public education would be improved. 

Of those who support ESAs, 69% believe they should be universal, while only 21% believe they should be limited to low-income families. ESAs allow families a greater say over their children’s education by providing resources for tuition, tutoring and other educational expenses.

Additionally, 80% of parents support education tax credits, with two-thirds (66%) indicating that giving families access to tax credits would improve the nation’s education system, compared to only 8% who believe that it would weaken it. These findings underscore a national trend, with those who spend the most time with America’s children — teachers and parents — signaling support for more options to provide children with meaningful learning opportunities.

The poll was conducted by YouGov from Sept. 20-25, 2023. YouGov interviewed a total of 1,209 people who were then matched down to a sample of 1,000 to produce the final dataset. The margin of error is estimated to be +/- 3.4%.