Idaho voters overwhelmingly support public education, distrust voucher schemes, are skeptical of heavy-handed policing of library content by the government and believe the State of Idaho should properly fund school facilities, according to an autumn poll commissioned by Idaho Education Association members.
In the Sept. 30-Oct. 5 online poll, 2,313 voters were asked a variety of questions related to public education. The results show that Idahoans perspectives on public education align very well with the pro-public education policy goals of IEA’s members, public school educators from across Idaho.
“Idaho voters understand the importance of public education and continue to insist that policymakers make it a priority — as they have for decades,” said IEA President Layne McInelly. “Each of the issues included in this important voter poll are all but certain to be discussed by policymakers during the coming session of the Idaho Legislature. IEA members, the public school educators who are our state’s most important and influential education experts, encourage lawmakers to listen closely to what their constituents have to say.”
In summary, the poll shows robust backing for increased public school investments, deep reservations about vouchers, including education savings account vouchers or tuition tax credit vouchers, a preference for local library decision-making, and an endorsement for enhanced mental health support in schools.
“Notably, the consensus on these issues extends to socially- and politically-conservative Idahoans, with less than 10% of voters harboring animosity towards the public education system — despite the false political narrative coming from some quarters,” said IEA’s Political Director Chris Parri. “The vast majority of Idahoans, rural or urban, liberal or conservative, support their public schools. They want to see the State of Idaho provide more services and a higher educational standard to students, and highlight the need for certified professional educators, modern facilities, and opportunities that extend statewide.”
Conducted by polling firm Change Research, the poll’s margin of error is 2.2 percentage points.
Here’s a topical sampling of Idahoan’s opinions as revealed in the poll’s results:
- 55% of Idaho voters polled oppose directing public tax dollars to private K-12 schools, with 35% in favor and 10% unsure.
- 80% believe schools benefiting from vouchers, taxpayer-funded education savings account vouchers or tuition tax credit vouchers, if ever enacted in Idaho, should meet the same accountability and transparency standards as public schools.
Notably, no vouchers enacted in other states, including education savings account vouchers or tuition tax credit vouchers, align with Idahoans’ desired accountability standards. Groups advocating for these policies often oppose such accountability, despite using metrics from public school transparency and accountability requirements in their arguments.
- 93% of Idaho voters polled believe the State of Idaho has a duty to provide modern, safe, and secure school facilities in every community.
- 94% consider modern facilities a “right” for Idaho students.
- 80% said the state should provide funding even if local voters reject providing funding through local property taxes in a bond or levy election.
- 86% of Idaho voters polled believe it’s a parent’s responsibility, not the government’s, to monitor children’s library materials.
- 82% think all parents, not just a small group, should have a say in the content of school libraries.
- 79% of Idaho voters polled support the idea that teachers have a role in helping students develop social and emotional skills.
- 88% agreed that students deserve access to certified, high-quality school counselors and mental health professionals.