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Majority of Arizonans Support Efforts to Create More Educational Opportunity for Latino Students

Author: Helios Education Foundation

Posted on: May 9, 2019

A recent voter poll indicates that the majority of Arizonans support dual-language education for children.  In addition, nearly 60 percent of respondents approve of a measure that would allow undocumented students to receive in-state tuition rates.  UnidosUS (formerly National  Council of La Raza) and Helios Education Foundation initiated the poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, to measure support for activities such as dual-language learning and access to postsecondary education.

“As a foundation focused on improving Latino Student Success, we are encouraged by these poll results. They indicate definitively that Arizonans recognize the importance of ensuring all students in our state have access to a high-quality education,” said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO, Helios Education Foundation. “Ensuring all students have opportunities to succeed in education, regardless of primary language spoken at home or citizenship status, will help secure a stronger quality of life for all of us and a stronger economic future for Arizona.”

Key findings of the statewide poll include:

  • High levels of support for the dual language ballot measure across the political spectrum: 60 percent of Republican voters, 62 percent of Democrats, and 63 percent of Independents backed the measure. 
  • Support for dual language education was also consistent across ethnicity: 56 percent of White voters and 69 percent of Hispanic voters indicated that they would vote yes on the proposal. Of note, 71 percent of White women expressed support for the measure. 
  • Younger voters are particularly supportive of the measure: 78 percent of respondents ages 18-34 say they would vote yes on the dual language initiative.
  • Six out of ten voters (59 percent) also approve of a measure that would allow undocumented students to receive in-state tuition rates.

“The poll specifically addressed pending legislation before lawmakers right now -- HCR 2026 and SB 1217 /HB 2186,” said Janice Palmer, Vice President  & Director of Policy at Helios Education Foundation.  “HCR 2026 is a referendum that would give voters the opportunity to adopt dual-language instruction opportunities for all children – an opportunity currently not available to our English Language Learners to master the English language.  SB 1217 / HB 2186 would establish the high school graduate tuition rate at all Arizona community colleges and universities, providing relief to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) students who due to a court ruling now are subject to out-of-state tuition rates, as well as other high school graduates.” 

Polling indicates strong bi-partisan support for both measures and will help us take a significant step forward in closing the academic achievement and degree completion gaps that exist in our state. This poll reinforces the fact that Arizonans recognize the importance of educational opportunity for all students.  HCR 2026 is one Senate vote away from being put before the voters in the November 2020 General Election.  Continued advocacy efforts are needed for successful passage of SB 1217 / HB 2186.  

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