Oklahomans Want Bolder Education Reforms & More Choices

Oklahoma City (July 10, 2014) – A poll released today showed that Oklahoma Republican primary voters want bolder education reforms and a wider array of educational choices for students than the Republican-dominated legislature has delivered, according to the Oklahoma Federation for Children.

“Republican primary voters support the education reforms already adopted by the Republican Legislature but they want them to go much further,” said Bob Sullivan, Co-Chair of the Oklahoma Federation for Children. “The Republican base wants bolder reforms and more educational choices for Oklahoma’s families.”

The poll of Republican primary voters demonstrated strong support for the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship Program for special needs students (76% favor, 15% oppose) and the Equal Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program (72% favor, 17% oppose). In fact, a majority of Republican primary voters would like to see this tax credit program expanded so that more students could receive scholarships to attend the private school of their parents’ choice.

While the Republican Legislature voted down legislation this year expanding charter schools throughout the state, Republican primary voters strongly support charter schools (68% favor, 19% oppose) and want them to be available in rural areas as well as urban areas (82% favor, 12% oppose).

The Republican primary voters also strongly approved of an innovative proposal to create Education Savings Accounts so parents could customize their child’s education (64% favor, 26% oppose). Unfortunately, the Republican Legislature defeated this legislation in a House committee this session.

The poll also found that support for bolder reforms increased among Republican primary voters in rural Oklahoma: Educational choice (83% favor, 14% oppose), charter schools (78% favor, 11% oppose), the Equal Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program (76% favor, 11 percent oppose), and the special needs program (78% favor, 11, percent oppose).

“It is clear Republican voters want more high-quality educational choices for Oklahoma’s families,” said Russell Perry, Co-Chair of the Oklahoma Federation for Children. “It is time for the Republican Legislature to catch up with its voters and deliver for the children of Oklahoma.’

Brian Nienaber, a vice president at The Tarrance Group said, “Education is often a difficult issue for Republican candidates. This data offers valuable guidance that embracing educational choices and embracing flexibility for parents on how to fund the education of their children are broadly popular concepts among Republican voters.”

The poll of 600 Republican primary voters was conducted on June 8-10 by the Tarrance Group for the Oklahoma Federation for Children. Tarrance has had great success polling Republican primary voters in Oklahoma; most recently for Governor Mary Fallin and Congressman James Lankford.

The Oklahoma Federation for Children is chaired by Bob Sullivan of Tulsa and Russell Perry of Oklahoma City. The OK Federation for Children works to increase the array and quality of K-12 educational options available to Oklahoma’s children. The Oklahoma Federation for Children is a state-based project of the American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice

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7-9-14 OKFC Polling Bargraph