And don’t want their taxes going to private schools and for-profit charters.
Education doesn’t have to be a partisan issue. A poll released today from Gonzales Research of 823 registered Maryland voters shows broad agreement across counties, parties, and demographics: Marylanders want increased funding for public schools, increased access to pre-k, and for our political leaders to focus on improving public schools rather than shifting resources to private schools and for-profit charter schools.
Let’s check out the numbers.
And they want it by a huge margin: 83% of Marylanders say it’s important to increase public education funding (61% say it’s “very important”).
Bear these numbers in mind when Gov. Hogan comes out with his budget later this week. Will he not only fully fund schools this year, but refrain from putting in budget language that cuts the school funding formula in future years (which he’s tried to do before, only to be rejected by the General Assembly)?
By the way, increasing funding for public schools is important to overwhelming majorities of Marylanders no matter where they live — an important message for county officials to factor in when crafting their budgets.
While President-elect Trump and Governor Hogan focus their energy on sending more tax dollars to vouchers and charter schools, Marylanders want to go in the opposite direction. By a nearly 50-point margin (68% to 19%), Maryland voters want elected officials to focus funding on improving existing public schools rather than shifting funding to private schools and privately-run charters.
Again, it’s not partisan. Among Democrats, a 63-point margin prefers a focus on public schools (77% to 14%). It’s a 54-point margin among independents (70% to 16%). And even the president-elect and governor’s own Republican Party members disagree with their focus by a 25-point margin (53% to 28%).
Similarly wide margins are seen across the state, especially among Baltimore City residents — whose schools are often the focus of outside reformers’ efforts to supplant public schools with voucher-driven private schools and national charter school chains.
The unmet needs in Maryland public schools are huge — nearly $3 billion, according to a recent independent report presented to the Kirwan Commission. But building the political will to meet those needs shouldn’t be impossible; in fact, Marylanders support raising revenue to address them.
An overwhelming 73% of Marylanders said they would favor “closing corporate loopholes and raising income taxes on the state’s highest earners” to increase funding for public education.
Again, support crosses party lines and demographics.
Among the many ways the infusion of new funding could be deployed to improve our schools is to expand access to public pre-kindergarten to all four-year-olds in Maryland. This research-backed idea is supported by 70% of Marylanders (52% strongly).