Ignorance May Be Bliss, But It Makes Bad Policy


(Guest post by Greg Forster)

ALELR draws attention to some problematic details in the Gallup/PDK poll finding on Americans’ support for charter schools.

 I hate to draw attention to the PDK poll, since its voucher support question has been shown to be misleading in a way that drives down the appearance of voucher support by an astonishing 23 percentage points. But I feel pretty safe because the PDK voucher question has lost so much credibility that it’s not really very dangerous any more.

So back to the charter school question. PDK finds 64% of Americans support charter schools. That’s the topline. But guess what else you find if you look below that?

A majority of Americans don’t think charter schools are public schools.

57% believe charter schools charge tuition.

71% believe charter schools can select their own students.

Perhaps vouchers and charters were separated at birth.

Bear that in mind the next time you hear charters are more popular than vouchers. First of all, I doubt that it’s true – I’ve seen plenty of polls with around 64% support for vouchers. But on top of that, how sure are we that when people say they support charters they don’t think they’re supporting sending children to private schools of their choice using public funds, which is the very definition of a voucher?

Image HT I Think I Believe

One Response to Ignorance May Be Bliss, But It Makes Bad Policy

  1. Ed next also has a new poll on support for charter and voucher schools. See http://educationnext.org/persuadable-public/ The answers people give are highly maleable to new information.

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