I’m not one to tell the GOP which issues it ought to pursue, but…oh, who am I kidding. I’m exactly one to tell the GOP which issues it ought to pursue if it wants to win the next couple elections. School Choice (and the broader matter of how calamitously our public education system has failed generations of children) is a winner. Just look at the numbers.
And it gets better.
My other favorite part of the poll is where it shows that support for increasing school spending and teacher pay drops by half when people learn what average per-pupil spending and average teacher salaries actually are. On average, Hispanics think teachers are paid little more than $25,000 a year; blacks, on average, think they are paid around $30,000 a year; and whites estimate salaries at $35,000. Real average teacher salaries are $56,000 a year (before benefits). The public also has a rather shaky trust in teachers and overall a negative view of teacher unions, which is also likely a boost to Republican governors in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio.
Gallup polls have rather consistently shown that voters are more likely to trust Democrats than Republicans on education. This data seems to indicate that, with a bit more public education, Republicans have a real opening to appeal across party lines on school choice and quality.
I’d say that any public education from the Republican Party would result in immense gains, considering the party has chased down every half-baked idea to woo voters except the blindingly obvious ones. Instead of trying another “comprehensive” immigration solution that would neither be a solution nor comprehensive or trying to make an honest budget deal with dishonest Democrats, Republican leaders in Congress ought to start pushing school choice bills. “Do it for the children” would, for once, be a honest rallying cry.
It’s time the Republican Party picked a winning issue. School choice is that issue.