Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty
Press Release

WILL Polls Critical Education Policy Questions in Wisconsin

Statewide poll finds low support for Evers' attack on school choice

By - Apr 9th, 2019 10:01 am

The News: With K-12 education policy taking center stage in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) conducted a statewide poll of registered voters to determine the state of play on key policy questions. WILL polled on Gov. Evers’ plan to freeze enrollment in voucher and charter schools and increase spending on K-12 education. WILL also asked respondents about public school transparency, politics in the classroom, Act 10, local control, and general views on vouchers, charter schools, and Education Savings Accounts.

Key Insights:

  • Evers’ plan to freeze enrollment at voucher and charter schools garners low support. Just 33% of all respondents support the freeze on vouchers and 28% support the freeze on charters. Pluralities oppose freezing vouchers (36%) and charters (40%).
    • 43% of Democrats oppose the charter freeze. 35% of Democrats and independents oppose the voucher freeze.
  • Public school spending popular, but declines with information. 59% approve of Gov. Evers’ budget proposal to increase spending on K-12 education by $1.4 billion.
    • Support plummets to 39% when respondents learn the increase in spending comes with no academic accountability.
  • Public charter schools earn majority statewide support (54%).
    • Significant majority support among Hispanics (68%), Republicans (66%), African Americans (62%), and residents in Metro Milwaukee counties (61%).
    • 50% of independents and 43% of Democrats support public charter schools.
  • More respondents support Wisconsin’s school voucher programs (45%) than oppose (38%).
    • Significant majority support among African Americans (66%), Republicans (66%), and Hispanics (60%).
    • Majority support in Metro Milwaukee counties (59%), and among Millennials/Gen Z (53%).
    • 45% of independents and 27% Democrats support school vouchers.
  • Increased public school spending transparency commands overwhelming support (80%). Respondents across the board want more information readily available on how public schools spend tax dollars.
  • Act 10 earns significant majority support.
    • 63% agree teachers should contribute to their healthcare costs.
    • 61% agree teachers should contribute to their pensions.
  • Nearly half of respondents (49%) are concerned about politics creeping into the classroom.
    • 70% of Republicans and 46% of independents expressed concern.

The Quote: Research Director Will Flanders said, “This poll reveals Wisconsin voters are not lining up to support Governor Evers’ education agenda – in fact, some of the key communities he claims to support want to protect the policies he is attacking, like school choice. Just one third of respondents support a freeze on choice and charter schools, and key elements of the governor’s political coalition support school choice.”

Poll Details: The poll of 1,400 registered voters in Wisconsin was conducted by Dynata from March 21 to March 28 and has a margin of error of +/- 3. The cooperation rate for the survey was 39%. The sample is 29.36% Republican, 28.29% Democrat, and 42.35% independent. These figures are similar to the Marquette Law School Poll which has 27% Republican, 30% Democrat, and 41% independent on average.

Read the full memo here.

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