MRG POLL: Voters support empowering families with more choices in education

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MRG POLL: Voters support empowering families with more choices in education 

LANSING – New poll results released today by the Great Lakes Education Project and Americans for Prosperity-Michigan show that voters support a range of education options for parents, including funding mechanisms that empower parents to make the best choices for their families. More than 74 percent of voters supported either an in-person option or a hybrid approach that incorporates both virtual and in-person learning; 57 percent also favored creating a tax refund or tax credit that allows parents to access in-person learning at either a public or private school if that’s the best choice for their family.

“This is a difficult time to be a parent of school-age children,” said Beth DeShone, executive director for the Great Lakes Education Project. “Voters are coming down on the side of giving families a full range of choices powered by public funding mechanisms that are flexible and support whatever choice they need to make for their children. Several years ago, legislative leaders had the foresight to expand public funding for virtual learning options. We can take the next step by now allowing funds to follow children into additional education options, both in-person and virtual, if that’s what they choose.”

               Said Annie Patnaude, state director for Americans for Prosperity-Michigan: “The COVID-19 crisis creates a unique opportunity to craft an education funding system that reflects the diversity of our state and our nation. Every family, parent and child have unique needs. Unfortunately, our policies are all-too-often out of step with this principle. Especially during these challenging times, we need to embrace bottom-up solutions that reflect the diversity of needs and viewpoints and reject top-down prescriptive approaches.”

The survey of 600 likely Michigan voters, conducted September 14-19 by Lansing-based Marketing Resource Group, asked voters:

If students and teachers followed all of the national safety guidelines including taking daily temperatures, social distancing, wearing masks and washing and disinfecting their hands, do you believe Michigan students should attend school this year in person, virtually on-line, or with a hybrid model that uses a little bit of both?  

  • 32.7% of voters surveyed favored safe, in-person learning;
  • 41.8% preferred a mix of both some in-person and online learning;
  • 19% of voters preferred a virtual education option

According to a recent report by MLive, at least 100 school districts across the state – representing hundreds of schools and tens-of-thousands of students – were unable or unwilling to safely open their classroom doors for even some safe in-person learning at the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

MRG also asked voters:  If a student’s local school is unwilling or unable to open this fall for in-person learning, would you support a tax refund or a tax credit for parents that allows them to send their child to another public or private school that is open?  

  • 39.2% of voters surveyed strongly back equipping parents with tax refunds or credits to make the best choice for their family; 
  • 17.5% of voters somewhat support the concept; 
  • Overall, 56.7% support empowering parents to meet the needs of their children; 
  • 30.7% somewhat or strongly oppose the idea.

The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.  40% of respondents were reached via cell phone.  42% of those sampled identified themselves as Democrats, with 38% identifying themselves as Republicans.

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