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Majority of Alaskans Support School Choice Amendment

New statewide poll shows Alaskans prefer options in education

JUNEAU-A new poll conducted shows a majority of Alaskans support amending the state’s constitution to allow for school choice.  Dittman Research conducted the poll earlier this month on behalf of the House Majority Caucus to help inform members and the public on priority issues before the Legislature.

“These numbers show a majority of Alaskans support our efforts to expand the public education system,” said Senator Mike Dunleavy, R-Mat-Su Valley.  “Our opponents will tell you they haven’t heard anyone support school choice.  This poll shows when you ask everyday Alaskans, not special interest groups, you will find Alaskans from many walks of life support parents being able to make smart choices on behalf of their children.”

The poll asked 800 Alaskans whether parents should be allowed to choose where to send their child to school and whether allowing a portion of the public funds to follow the child would create a healthy competition and improve Alaska’s schools overall.  61-percent of respondents said yes.  Furthermore, an overwhelming 84-percent of those people said they would support amending Alaska’s constitution to allow a school choice program in Alaska.

“This poll also shows the majority of Alaskans do not think amending the Constitution to allow school choice will gut our public schools,” said Senator Dunleavy.  “They are not buying into the misconception that school choice erodes public schools.”

The current poll also shows an increase of support as Alaskans learn more about what school choice means for students.   In a 2011 poll, 54-percent of Alaskans backed school choice.  In 2012, support hit 55-percent.  This year, the number has jumped to 61-percent.

Senator Dunleavy is the prime sponsor of Senate Joint Resolution 9, which would let Alaskans vote on whether to amend the state’s constitution to allow the use of public money for the benefit of all Alaskans seeking educational/training aid, regardless of whether individuals enroll in public or private institutions.

“SJR 9 gives voters the power to decide what is right for them, their families and the State of Alaska,” said Senator Dunleavy.

Another noteworthy item in the poll was a majority of Alaskans (53%) would give Alaska’s public schools a grade of “C” or below.

“Parents and others believe something needs to be done to raise these schools to a level we can all be proud of,” said Senator Dunleavy.  “That’s why it is important to able to evaluate all options when it comes to improving our children’s education.”

Dittman Corporation surveyed 800 Alaskans the week of March 13th, resulting in a 3.4-percent margin of error. All regions of the state were represented and balanced to the 2010 Census.   To take a look at the poll, please click here.

From the office of Senator Mike Dunleavy, Alaska Senate Majority

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