A new survey conducted by the education reform advocacy group Excellence in Education showed that 76 percent of Alabamians support allowing parents to choose where their children attend school rather than leaving it up to zoning.
The same poll also showed strong support for expanding charter schools (61-28 percent) and instituting open enrollment policies (67-25) percent.
As for the biggest obstacles facing Alabama schools, respondents ranked lack of funding (46 percent), lack of parental involvement (35 percent) and overcrowded classrooms as the top three issues.
Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Excellence in Education Foundation, said the poll shows during support for school choice in Alabama.
“Voters in Alabama believe families should have education options. Whether choosing a public charter school, private school, or another public school of their choice, all families deserve the freedom to select the learning environment where their child will succeed, regardless of their ZIP code or background.”
Asked to grade Alabama’s public schools, 45 percent awarded a “C” grade, while 25 percent gave a “B” grade. Only three percent of respondents graded Alabama schools with an “A” grade and 4 percent gave an “F.”
More specifically, the survey showed strong support for Alabama’s recently-adopted program offering “opportunity scholarships” that allow students in failing school districts to attend private schools. 70 percent of respondents said they favor the concept compared the 24 percent opposing.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, who sponsored the Alabama Accountability Act that set up the scholarship program, was pleased by the survey’s results.
“It should come as no surprise that parents overwhelmingly want to be able to have the choice to send their children to a school that gives them the optimal chance at success,” Marsh said.
“Although there is no ‘magic bullet’ when it comes to providing quality education, I believe that parents should have as many options as we can give them to send their children to a school that is best suited for their needs. It is obvious that they agree.”
View the full survey results HERE.