MADISON — On this National School Choice Week, a new survey finds continued growing support for expanded options in education. And more parents have considered moving their children out of their present schools amid concerns over pandemic policies, curriculum and academic quality.
More than half of parents (52 percent) asked in in the National School Choice Week survey said they were considering, or had considered in the last year, choosing a new or different school for one of their children.
The survey was delivered to Survey Monkey’s National Audience between Jan. 3-6, with no reference to National School Choice Week to prevent biasing any responses.
Of the respondents, 18 percent said they chose a new school for at least one child in their household within the past year.
The desire for a better education (36 percent) topped the list of primary reasons parents considered or would consider moving their children out of their existing school, according to the survey. Another 34 percent cited the pandemic and/or school COVID policies disrupting their child’s education as a driving factor for thinking about changing schools.
Other reasons included:
— Safety concerns, bullying
— Parents wanting more say in curriculum and what their children are learning
— Concerns over how student behavior is managed
According to the survey, Parents want schools that prepare students for real-world success and focus on quality academics. When asked what factors were most important in evaluating whether a school is/was the right fit for their children:
- 24 percent of parents indicated they prioritize a school that “prepares students to succeed in the real world.”
- 20 percent indicated they prioritize a school that “helps students develop critical thinking skills.”
- 20 percent say they prioritize a school that “has highly-trained, qualified teachers.”
- 18 percent of parents want a school that “focuses on core subjects, such as reading, writing, math, science, and history.”
Among parents of school-aged children, support for school choice is overwhelming – with high percentage of support across all races and geographics.
- 69 percent of parents say they strongly support, support, or somewhat support school choice, with 31 percent indicating strong support.
- Support for school choice was highest among black parents (73 percent overall support) and Hispanic or Latino parents (72percent). 69 percent of white parents indicated support for school choice.
- 71 percent of parents in cities or urban areas indicated support for school choice; 82 percent of parents in rural areas said they support for school choice; and 68 percent of parents in suburban areas noted support for school choice.
National School Choice Week is a not-for-profit, charitable initiative to raise awareness of effective K–12 education options for children. The organization focuses equally on traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online schools, and homeschools.
NSCW also partners with tens of thousands of schools, homeschool groups, and organizations to raise broad public awareness of school choice and of the importance of opportunity in K–12 education. These efforts take place in January of each year during an annual celebration, which features tens of thousands of independently planned awareness events and activities, such as school fairs, parent information sessions, student talent showcases, and open houses. This year, National School Choice Week is Jan. 23–29.