WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (JTA) — A bare majority of Americans favor taxpayer-funded school vouchers, according to a new poll. The survey found that 51 percent favor the idea of allowing parents to send their children to any public, private or church-related school if government pays all or part of the tuition, while 45 percent oppose it. A similar poll conducted last year found 49 percent in favor of vouchers and 48 percent opposed. School vouchers remain a contentious issue in the Jewish community. Most Jewish organizations oppose vouchers, saying such initiatives violate the separation of church and state and would undermine public education. But many Orthodox and politically conservative Jews favor the idea, arguing that vouchers are needed to provide better access to a quality Jewish education and to fight the Jewish continuity crisis. The U.S. Supreme Court may decide to rule on the issue in its coming term. The poll, conducted in June by the Gallup Organization for Phi Delta Kappa, a professional association of educators, found a slight decrease in support for vouchers when respondents were asked specifically about vouchers that would pay for all tuition costs, with 48 percent in favor and 46 percent opposed. When asked about a system that would pay part of tuition costs, the public supported the idea by a 52 to 41 percent margin. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
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