In the past year, more than half of parents considered a different school for their children, a new study revealed.
Rates were highest among African American (64.5%) and Latino parents (64.6%), according to the research released by the National School Choice Awareness Foundation (NSCAF). Although only 16.6% of all parents chose a new school, 25.8% are still considering a change.
Many parents – 64.7% overall, including 75.7% of Latino parents and 71.2% of African American parents – also feel they lack sufficient information about available schooling options.
Informing parents is at the core of NSCAF’s mission, which it accomplishes in part through its flagship program, National School Choice Week. This year it will be celebrated from Jan. 22-28.
Although critics of school choice often argue it will cripple public education, NSCAF’s data showed many parents considered alternatives within the public system.
Over a third of parents (38.2%) considered a public school outside their district and 31.5% considered a public charter. Others explored private or religious schools (29.1%), homeschooling (22.9%), or full-time online schooling (20.8%).
“Every child deserves a quality, effective education, and school choice empowers parents to find learning environments where their daughters and sons are most likely to succeed,” said Shelby Doyle, NSACF’s vice president of public awareness.
Across the nation, state legislators – in Virginia, Missouri, Ohio and elsewhere – have filed bills creating or expanding school choice programs. Arkansas’s new governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders even promised to prioritize education reform and signed an executive order toward that end.
As many Americans have lost trust in the public education system, the attractiveness of school choice continues to grow.
“As we prepare to celebrate National School Choice Week with tens and thousands of awareness-raising events across the country, it is essential to remember for families, school choice is not about policy politics,” said Doyle. “It is about making intensely personal decisions about what works best for their individual children.”