Oklahoma’s school choice victory and America’s growing support for education options

By Paul Dauphin

This week the Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld the state’s special needs voucher program that has been serving special needs students since 2010.

The ruling was a victory for parents and children in Oklahoma who rely on the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program to meet their educational needs. In 2014, the program was dealt a setback when a lower court ruled the program unconstitutional.

In 2015, this program provided nearly 400 students with disabilities the ability to use their existing education tax dollars to obtain access to a school that better suited their unique and special needs.

School choice supporters in the Sooner State are applauding another positive school choice development. On Wednesday, a bill creating an Education Savings Account program that will empower more parents with the ability to utilize their right to school choice advanced out of Oklahoma’s House Common Education Committee.

Oklahoma lawmakers should be paying close attention to voters’ growing support of school choice. The recently released National School Choice Poll by the American Federation for Children showed that the concept of school choice has strong support of the electorate.

The poll, conducted by Democratic polling firm Beck Research, showed that 70 percent of Americans support the concept of school choice. The survey coincides with the start of the 2016 election cycle.

When asked their opinion of specific school choice options, 65 percent of American voters support private school choice, 65 percent support Education Savings Accounts, and 75 percent support public charter schools.

The poll of likely 2016 November voters was conducted January 19-24, 2016. It surveyed 1,100 likely voters, including an 800 person national sample, on questions related to educational choice, vouchers and charter schools.