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More School Choice, Say Parents and Voters

Majority of Black and Hispanic Families Would Choose Non-Traditional Public School Options
January 23, 2019


RALEIGH, N.C. – Today, the Civitas Institute released the results of its annual North Carolina School Choice Poll, which surveyed registered voters regarding their opinion on school choice issues.

The week of January 20-26 is National School Choice Week.

The compelling findings send a clear signal that North Carolinians of all ages, races, and political parties are in support of expanding school choice programs in our state. Registered voters were asked their opinion on a variety of K-12 education issues, such as:

  • Where would you send your children if resources were not an issue?
  • Do you support Education Savings Accounts?
  • How likely are you to support a candidate that supports school choice?

A particularly salient finding is the responses the following subgroup of parents gave when asked: “What type of school does your child attend?”

Traditional Public    76%
Charter                           7%
Private                           10%
Home                               7%

This parental subgroup was then asked:
“If you were able to select the best school for your child and resources were not a problem, what type of school would you select for your child?”

Traditional Public      28%
Charter                            13%
Private                             45%
Home                                  9%
Other                                  2%
Not Sure                            3%

”Education policy conversations in North Carolina consistently, and destructively, devolve into a ‘race to the top,’ to see who can spend the most money, regardless of outcomes,” said Civitas President Donald Bryson.

“However, this poll should give policymakers pause and concern the Department of Public Instruction. Families are continuing to choose different avenues of education for their children, and this poll indicates only 28 percent would stay if resources were not a problem. Policymakers need to consider why families are in search of other options.”

The clear desire that many parents have to exercise their natural right and responsibility to guide their child’s education is apparent. This belief in parental choice even translates into the larger group of voters polled: “How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Parents should have the ability to choose where their child attends school.”

Strongly Agree              70%
Somewhat Agree          22%
Somewhat Disagree      4%
Strongly Disagree          2%
Not Sure                             1%

Bryson continued, “The right to parental school choice is overwhelmingly popular in North Carolina, regardless of geography, income level, race or party registration. Politicians would serve well to take note, particularly given recent election results in Florida and Georgia.”

The survey also sought to gauge voter support of two North Carolina school choice programs, the Opportunity Scholarship and the Education Savings Account.

Opportunity Scholarship Education Savings Account
Strongly Support              51% Strongly Support             39%
Somewhat Support          34% Somewhat Support         40%
Somewhat Oppose            7% Somewhat Oppose           8%
Strongly Oppose                5% Strongly Oppose               4%
Not Sure                              3% Not Sure                             9%

This poll surveyed 804 registered voters in North Carolina, ranging in age from 25 to 54. The margin of error for the survey at large is +/- 3.4%. 


For questions, or to arrange an interview, please contact Brooke Medina, communications director, at

Civitas has conducted live-caller voting in North Carolina since May 2005, and we are the only public policy organization offering statewide independent, nonpartisan data on a regular basis. Our polls have provided vital insights on what North Carolina voters think of the leaders and issues facing the state and nation.

Founded in 2005, the Civitas Institute is a Raleigh, NC-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit policy organization committed to advancing conservative ideas and shrinking the size of government. Civitas fights to eliminate government barriers to freedom so that North Carolinians can live a better life.

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