Who supports MO private school choice? Evidence from likely voters in Missouri

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Abstract

In the first half of 2021, 33 states considered new private school choice legislation. Despite this legislative interest, public opinion on private school choice remains varied. In this paper, we examine voter support for private school choice in Missouri, a politically conservative state that lacked a private school choice program until 2021. We conduct a survey experiment to gauge support for the expansion of private school choice to religious schools, assess preferences for universal or targeted student access, and explore opinions regarding the regulation of participating private schools. We find voters are significantly less likely to support voucher expansion when primed to consider that vouchers could be used at religiously affiliated schools. Political ideology, racial identity, college exposure, and family income are significant predictors of voucher support. Regulation support varies widely, with the strongest support for adherence to state testing requirements and the lowest support for waiving admissions requirements for voucher students. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for Missouri’s recently passed private school choice program, particularly by considering ways in which political compromise may be reached to implement the program in a manner conscious of heterogeneous voter preferences.

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How to Cite
Shelton, A. J., Anglum, J. C., Rhinesmith, E., & Burrola, A. (2022). Who supports MO private school choice? Evidence from likely voters in Missouri . Education Policy Analysis Archives, 30, (81). https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.30.7159
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Author Biographies

Amy J. Shelton, Saint Louis University

Amy J. Shelton is a PhD student in education policy and equity and a research associate in the Policy Research in Missouri Education (PRiME) Center at the Saint Louis University School of Education. Her research interests include spatial inequalities in education, school choice, and the intersection of neighborhoods and schools.

J. Cameron Anglum, Saint Louis University

Cameron Anglum, PhD, is an assistant professor of education policy and equity at the Saint Louis University School of Education. His research and teaching focus on inequality in public schools, particularly that pertaining to school funding and teacher labor.

Evan Rhinesmith, Saint Louis University

Evan Rhinesmith, PhD, is the executive director of the Policy Research in Missouri Education (PRiME) Center at the Saint Louis University School of Education. His research focuses on postsecondary access and outcomes, college remediation, and teacher quality and evaluation.

Abigail Burrola, Saint Louis University

Abigail Burrola is a PhD student in education policy and equity and a research associate in the Policy Research in Missouri Education (PRiME) Center at the Saint Louis University School of Education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science.