Baton Rouge, La. (April 26, 2017) — Louisianans from across the state are expressing their support for school choice and scholarship funding at every academic level, which is in direct contrast to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ policy platform and recent attempts to roll back reforms and slash state funding to scholarship programs, according to a new Truth in Politics (TIP) poll released today.
Louisiana residents are pessimistic about the state’s public school system, with a strong majority of those polled rating the job being done by public schools in their local districts as fair or poor and 70 percent rating the same of public schools throughout Louisiana. Meanwhile, support for charter schools, which many say are held more accountable for demonstrating improved student achievement than traditional public schools, remains strong in Louisiana, with more than 60 percent of respondents saying they favor the charter school model over the public school system. Additionally, approximately 55 percent of those polled said they favor having public education tax dollars follow each child to the school of their parents’ choosing rather than allowing local school boards to decide where tax dollars should be spent.
During his time in office, Gov. Edwards has repeatedly spoken about his opposition to many of the existing Louisiana education reforms and has expressed his desire to roll back the education reforms. Among those potentially on the chopping block are the letter grades assigned to public schools, a reform that helps parents judge the effectiveness of their school and making the schools more accountable. According to the TIP poll, nearly 80 percent of respondents support the letter grade system for public schools, and nearly 90 percent said the grading system should also allow taxpayers and parents to know how Louisiana’s public schools perform compared to those in other states.
On scholarships and vouchers, those polled strongly support programs Gov. Edwards has come out publicly against, such as the Louisiana Scholarship Program and the Tuition Donation Rebate Program, which were favored by 65 and 70 percent of respondents respectively. These programs aim to assist students in low-income families, while saving Louisiana taxpayers millions every year.
Gov. Edwards’ education policy views are closely aligned with teachers’ unions, and his support for their stances has earned him their financial backing, as was evident in his race for governor. Both local and national teachers’ unions contributed heavily to Gov. Edwards’ campaign and pro-Edwards super PACs, such as the American Federation of Teachers’ $100,000 donation to his super PAC.
“Louisianans are unhappy with Gov. John Bel Edwards’ attempts to roll back critical education reforms that have been yielding major improvements in our state’s public schools,” said Kelli Bottger, executive director of TIP. “It’s time for Gov. Edwards to put the students and parents of Louisiana first and prioritize their concerns above his union bosses who bankrolled his campaign.”
The poll, which was conducted by national survey research firm Baselice & Associates, collected and analyzed the opinions of 500 Louisiana residents. Outreach to participants was split nearly evenly between landline and cell phone communication.
This is the second in a series of polls released by TIP, with more set to be released in the coming days highlighting opinions on Gov. Edwards’ overall perception among citizens, as well as their perception of his policies and other important issues. Visit TruthInPolitics.com for more information and updates, and follow the organization on Facebook at facebook.com/TruthInPoliticsLouisiana or on Twitter at twitter.com/TruthInPolLA.
About Truth in Politics
Truth in Politics (TIP) is a 501(c)(4) organization whose purpose is to bring truth to Louisiana politics, deliver the facts about bad policies that hurt Louisiana and build grassroots support for alternative approaches to our state’s challenges.