Hispanics support school vouchers

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A large percentage of Hispanics in Harris County support school vouchers, according to a new poll:

In a poll sponsored by a group working to pass a school voucher bill, almost 73 percent of Harris County Hispanics support the proposed legislation for at-risk children.

“This poll unequivocally verifies what we have known for a long time: Hispanic parents, particularly those in Texas’ largest, inner-city school districts, understand school choice offers their children a better future,” said Rebeca Nieves Huffman, president and CEO of the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options, the group that sponsored the poll.

The poll of about 1,000 Hispanic voters in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Travis counties shows that almost 76 percent favor a pilot voucher program in Texas’ largest, inner-city school districts.

The other side, of course, cries foul:

Carolyn Boyle, coordinator of the Coalition for Public Schools, said Tuesday the poll is “totally bogus,” because it didn’t give the full story.

“The people who promote private school vouchers always want to ask nebulous questions, and they never ask about the cost,” she said. “Had they asked, ‘Do you think we should spend a couple of hundred million dollars taken away from neighborhood schools?’ they would have said no.”

In a Scripps Howard Texas Poll earlier this year, 55 percent said they were opposed to using taxpayer-funded vouchers to allow public students to attend private schools, and 39 percent were in favor.

That’s irritating, when the Chronicle reporter assists Carolyn Boyle by adding a reference to a Texas Poll question, because as I have pointed out before, the Texas Poll is not available for public scrutiny. It is only available to subscribing media outlets.

So, since we can’t see exactly what the Texas Poll question asked, let me guess how the question was framed: Do you support the state providing private school vouchers, if it would take money away from schools that have already seen a (fill in the blank) percentage drop in funding?

THAT is what’s bogus, Ms. Boyle. Why be afraid of a little competition?

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.