News: Quick Takes

Survey: More than half of parents explored alternative school options during pandemic

A new survey from the nonprofit organization National School Choice Week shows that 52% of parents said they were considering — or considered in the past year — choosing a new or different school for their children.

Education quality and pandemic disruptions were the topic reasons cited for finding another school: 36% of parents wanted a school offering a higher quality of education, while 34% said the decision was due to their school’s COVID-19 policies that disrupted the educational process. Rounding out the list of reasons cited were bullying (26%), their child not being happy in school (23%), and wanting more of a say in curriculum choice or what their child was learning (21%).

Minority parents were more likely to seek an alternative school, with 62% of black parents and 59% of Latino parents reporting they had sought, or were seeking, a different school.

“There continues to be a stark disconnect between teacher unions and public school advocacy organizations that denigrate school choice and parents, who overwhelmingly support educational options,” said Dr. Terry Stoops, director of the Center for Effective Education at the John Locke Foundation. “Communities of color continue to be among the strongest supporters of school choice. They recognize that assigned district schools seldom meet the needs of their children.”

Asked whether they support school choice, 69% said they strongly support, support, or somewhat support the concept. That support was highest among black (73%) and Latino (72%) parents. Geographically, rural parents were more likely to support school choice (82%) compared to 71% of parents in urban areas and 68% of suburban parents.

In the survey, parents broadly reported openness to different types of school environments, with 38% considering a traditional public school, 25% a private or faith-based private school, 31% a charter school, and 25% a home school.

The poll was released about two weeks before the start of National School Choice Week Jan. 23-29.