More Americans than ever favor school choice amid growing belief public education is headed in the wrong direction

More Americans than ever are in support of school choice, according to an annual education survey.

EdChoice’s annual Schooling in America survey has polled Americans for 10 years, asking them…

More Americans than ever are in support of school choice, according to an annual education survey.

EdChoice’s annual Schooling in America survey has polled Americans for 10 years, asking them about their views on public schools, school choice and a variety of other education-related topics.

 Four key findings from the survey:

1. Most Americans believe public education is on the wrong track.

Most Americans have agreed for the past decade that public education is on the wrong track. In 2013, 62% of the public and 54% of school parents said public education was heading in the wrong direction. Meanwhile, just 26% of the public and 39.6% of school parents believed public education was on the right track. 

In 2022, 60.5% of the public and 51.6% of school parents agree that government-led schools are going in the wrong direction. Remaining public school parents are more optimistic than previously, however, with 47.7% believing public schools are heading in the right direction. 

The survey also asked school parents to report their satisfaction with their current type of school. More private school parents, 42.5%, than public school parents, 30%, report being “very satisfied” with their school.  

2. More Americans than ever support Education Savings Accounts, school voucher programs, and tax-credit scholarships.

Support for school choice programs such as Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), school voucher programs and tax-credit scholarships has been growing over the past decade.  

In 2013, 64.3% of the public and 62.2% of school parents favored ESAs, with support waning slightly in 2016.  

In 2022, 76.1% of the public and 81.3% of school parents favor ESAs, a remarkable leap in the numbers favoring school choice. 

When asked why they support ESAs, about two-thirds of Americans said the programs allow for more freedom and flexibility, give more individual attention to students and provide students with better and safer learning environments.  

Opinions on school vouchers and tax-credit scholarships were similarly positive, with 68.6% of the public and 74% of current school parents in favor of vouchers, and 71% of the public and 80% of parents in favor of tax-credit scholarships. 

3. Americans favor homeschooling.

The survey showed Americans across various demographics are very favorable toward homeschooling, as well. 

Asked whether they favor or oppose homeschooling, a substantial majority of current school parents, 68.5%, said they favor homeschooling as an option, including 65.8% of public school parents and 71.4% of charter school parents. The data was consistent among urban, suburban, and rural families among different ethnicities alike, all having a positive view of homeschooling. 

4. Support for “school choice” is strong.

School choice favorability has remained steady among the general public, and the percentage of parents who report having never heard of “school choice” is declining.  

In 2021, 58.7% of the public said they favored school choice compared to 2022, when 58.6% said they support it.  

And in 2021, 23% of school parents reported they never heard of school choice. But just 16.8% of parents said they haven’t heard of school choice in 2022; 83% of parents report having heard of school choice, 6% more than last year.  

Greater support of school choice among the public, and especially among parents of students, seems to coincide with the focus on education during and after the pandemic, as well as the growth of school choice programs in states such as in Arizona.