Title of Abstract

Opinion Survey of South Carolina Public School District Superintendents Concerning the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunities Act and Potential Outcomes for Public School Systems

Session Title

Mental Health and Education

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Political Science

Faculty Mentor

Hye-Sung Kim, Ph.D., and Scott Huffmon, Ph.D.

Abstract

In order to understand the present attitudes of South Carolina public school administrators and staff toward the proposed Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunities Act, this study directly surveyed South Carolina’s 81 district superintendents, along with a convenient sample of other staff working within the districts. The administered survey focuses primarily on the opinions of state superintendents regarding how the proposed bill may affect their districts and the overall public education system in the state. Education Freedom Scholarships were first introduced by United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, along with Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Republican Representative Bradley Byrne of Alabama in February 2019. The bill, which has 109 republican cosponsors, was introduced in the House of Representatives on February 28, 2019, and was sent to both the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Education and Labor. The proposal would create a $5 billion nonrefundable, dollar-for-dollar tax credit to encourage individual and corporate taxpayers to contribute to state-identified scholarship-granting organizations. It is hypothesized that superintendents and staff members who perceive their districts to be inadequately funded are more likely to oppose the bill, while superintendents and staff members who perceive their districts as well funded are less likely to oppose it. It is also hypothesized that, while political alignment will affect likelihood to oppose or support the proposal, perceptions about state funding to the school district will be a more reliable indicator of a respondent’s position regarding the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act.

Start Date

24-4-2020 12:00 AM

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Apr 24th, 12:00 AM

Opinion Survey of South Carolina Public School District Superintendents Concerning the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunities Act and Potential Outcomes for Public School Systems

In order to understand the present attitudes of South Carolina public school administrators and staff toward the proposed Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunities Act, this study directly surveyed South Carolina’s 81 district superintendents, along with a convenient sample of other staff working within the districts. The administered survey focuses primarily on the opinions of state superintendents regarding how the proposed bill may affect their districts and the overall public education system in the state. Education Freedom Scholarships were first introduced by United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, along with Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Republican Representative Bradley Byrne of Alabama in February 2019. The bill, which has 109 republican cosponsors, was introduced in the House of Representatives on February 28, 2019, and was sent to both the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Education and Labor. The proposal would create a $5 billion nonrefundable, dollar-for-dollar tax credit to encourage individual and corporate taxpayers to contribute to state-identified scholarship-granting organizations. It is hypothesized that superintendents and staff members who perceive their districts to be inadequately funded are more likely to oppose the bill, while superintendents and staff members who perceive their districts as well funded are less likely to oppose it. It is also hypothesized that, while political alignment will affect likelihood to oppose or support the proposal, perceptions about state funding to the school district will be a more reliable indicator of a respondent’s position regarding the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act.