Educational Editorial: Virginians perceptions of school

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - This week the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy released a poll of Virginians perceptions of school choice.  As pundits have recently described Virginia politically as neither "red nor blue but a quilt", it seems that its view of school reform is equally blended.

As Chris Braunlich noted, "For years, opponents of parental options have claimed that being for school choice means someone is against public schools. As this survey shows, this is certainly not true."

Debates rage over decisions related to the best form of schooling. Is it also possible that Virginians are asking that the debaters begin to focus on the consumers rather than their own organizational interests…and there are no white hats in this drama.

Revealed in the survey is that of the 13 states polled by the Friedman Foundation Virginia is the first to have more than 50 percent of the respondents to judge their public schools as good or excellent.

But wait…50-65 percent of the respondents also said that they supported school choice. Does this mean that Virginians are not able to make up their minds…are they ambivalent on education reform? Or to the contrary, does this mean that they support both?

When asked their choice, 42 percent said public, 35 percent private, 10 percent charter and 9 percent homeschooling.

Now critics point out that these are not the choices that are presently being made. For most of us there are many influences impact our choices. Perhaps who is right and who is wrong about the preferred choice should longer be one of them.

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