In summary

California voters have twice rejected private school voucher initiatives, but a new poll shows a majority favor the concept, which has been touted by the Trump administration as a way to lift struggling students’ achievement.

California voters have twice rejected private-school voucher initiatives, but a new poll shows a majority of them favor the concept, which has been touted by the Trump administration as a way to lift struggling students’ achievement.

According to the survey, 55 percent of registered voters support school vouchers for low-income families whose children are often stuck in failing schools. That support is consistent among Democrats, Republicans and independent voters. About a third of voters are opposed.

Vouchers are publicly funded stipends that recipients may use to enroll public-school students in private or parochial schools.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

While campaigning last year, President Trump pitched a $20 billion voucher program and called school choice “the civil rights issue of our time.” But so far, he hasn’t made any headway enacting such an ambitious program.

When the survey respondents were asked if vouchers should be offered to all California families, regardless of socioeconomic status, support dropped considerably, with just 46 percent of voters in favor and 43 percent opposed.

The poll was conducted by Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies on behalf of EdSource and surveyed 1,200 registered voters between late August and early September. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The survey also found that 60 percent of the state’s voters and 67 percent of parents of school-aged children are concerned about the federal government’s immigration policies and the impact they’re having on the state’s students.

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