Poll: South Carolina voters support educational savings accounts, school choice

(The Center Square) – South Carolina residents are supportive of school choice, according to a new survey of eligible voters from the South Carolina Policy Council.

When asked about education savings accounts, which were debated in the Legislature this year, 47% of registered voters supported the idea, 26% opposed it and 27% were uncertain.

The poll asked “Earlier this year, a proposal was made in South Carolina to establish Education Savings Accounts, which would pay for some lower-income K-12 students to attend private schools of their choice. The amount of the scholarship would be equal to or less than what the state is currently paying to educate that child. Do you support or oppose this proposal?”

A similar June survey of opinion from the South Carolina Policy Council showed similar results.

In this year’s session, the South Carolina Senate passed an ESA bill that would have created 5,000 scholarships in the 2023-24 school year before expanding to 10,000 in 2024-25 and 15,000 every school year thereafter.

The House then amended the bill and it did not move forward in the final days of session. A conference bill was created and passed by the House before it died in the Senate.

“The ESA/education choice bill, S.935, bled out on the floor of the South Carolina Senate because the Conference Report (that passed the SC House 85-14) did not include a provision that is found in no operational ESA program in the country: requiring private school kids to take (only) the public school test rather than a national norm-referenced test as is their practice,” according to Palmetto Promise.