Ep. 372: Monthly Tracker – May 2023

May 12, 2023

Back at it again with another monthly tracker are EdChoice team members, Mike McShane, Colyn Ritter, and John Kristof, sharing results from the latest tracking poll fielded in April. As always, the trio states which numbers are their “Cleopatra’s Pizza Hut Most Surprising Number” and “Death and Taxes Most Predictable Number.” 

Mike McShane: Hello and welcome back to another edition of EdChoice Chats. This is Mike McShane, director of National Research at EdChoice, and we will be chatting today in our monthly installment of our Tracker podcast. So for those of you that are unfamiliar, we partner with Morning Consult. I think they call themselves something like a data intelligence firm. And even though they’re good friends of us, I’m not super crazy about that name, but they help do polls. They do all sorts of interesting survey work as well. They partner with us, we pull a nationally representative sample of Americans every month we over sample parents to make sure to have a nice sample of them as well. And we’re going to be talking today about a poll that was in the field from April 17th to April 20th, 2023. The school year is winding down, parents, children, teachers can feel summertime coming. I know there are probably some students that are thinking about taking AP tests. 

There are folks thinking about graduating or maybe moving from elementary to middle to high school, any of those sort of transitions that are happening. So it’s always a fun springtime, maybe field day. I don’t know if your guys’ schools had field day, but I feel like this is about the time of year that field day would happen. Always loved field day. But yeah, I’m joined as always by my colleagues, Colyn Ritter and John Kristof. And I think we’ll start today like we do often with our segment Cleopatra’s Pizza Hut Most Surprising Number. And we haven’t really explained this joke in a couple podcasts, so you know what, I’m going to throw it out there. The reason we call it Cleopatra’s Pizza Hut Most Surprising Number is because it is surprising to many people that Cleopatra was actually born closer to the construction of the first Pizza Hut than the construction of the pyramids. And because we offer data that might be surprising to people, we thought it was an apt name for it. So Colyn, much like someone who first heard about the timeline of Cleopatra’s life, what numbers perhaps surprised you this month? 

Colyn Ritter: Yeah, thanks Mike. And I do miss field day. There should be an adult version of a field day somehow for working nine to five people. 

Mike McShane: Business idea right there. 

Colyn Ritter: Yeah. 

Mike McShane: You just came up with it. Shark Tank. 

Colyn Ritter: No money involved. Just fun. We just got get out of the office even though. 

Mike McShane: I think they started branding it as CrossFit and ruined it. 

Colyn Ritter: That’s true. 

Mike McShane: I was just thinking though, Colyn, you said no money involved. Gambling on such a thing would actually be quite entertaining. Imagine if the EdChoice office, if we had a field day, but also through gambling into it, I think it would be a lot of fun. 

Colyn Ritter: And the EdChoice office is perfect because it’s right by the Lucas Oil Stadium where the NFL combine is. That’s kind of like the NFL players field day version. So, we have a blueprint to copy. Yeah, I think we’re onto something. We’ll get back to you guys next month and show you guys what we figured out. But my most surprising number comes from a couple of new questions we’ve asked surrounding wellness, mental health, feelings, things like that. So three new questions. First, we gave parents and non-parents… We were comparing our parents and non-parents on several different areas and asked how satisfied they were. For example, with relationships, with family members, mental health, things like that. Our next new question that we asked parents, we gave them a couple list of description words and said, “Do you agree more at this statement or the other statement?” 

For example, one word was hopeful and the other was fearful. So that was our second new question. And then the third new question we asked parents if they were thriving or if they were suffering, whether or not kind of on a scale of 1 to 10, 0 means suffering, 10 means thriving. So with all that, parents… We got a theme from all three of these new questions that parents were much more likely to feel like they were satisfied, much more likely to feel hopeful about the future and much more likely to say they were thriving than non-parents. And I thought that was really interesting because it’s kind of opposite of what we hear in the media, especially with parents and especially in the education world, there’s a lot of doom and gloom out there, especially with new NAEP results and recovering from all the remote learning school closures and things like that. 

And parents were feeling stressed and how to help their kids get back on track. But what we’ve learned from these questions that parents are actually much more likely to feel satisfied when it comes to things like relationships with family members, mental health, physical health, overall wellbeing. For example, 45% of parents were satisfied with their overall wellbeing compared to about one third of non-parents who were satisfied with their wellbeing. 61% of parents are hopeful about the future compared to 46% of non-parents hopeful about the future. And like I said, parents are about 13% more likely to be thriving than non-parents. So that was one of my biggest takeaways. And I know John, you mentioned that as well. So I’m curious what your thoughts are on these. 

John Kristof: Yeah, I think the results are interesting just because it runs counter to I think what has some generally accepted conclusions in the social science world. And a lot of that comes from the general social survey that Newark at the University of Chicago has been running since the seventies that people have generally looked at and concluded that people with kids, at least during the time that kids are in the home, tend to be less happy than their childless counterparts. And not only does that not show up with the particular questions that we have asked, but it just is very strongly the opposite. So it’s interesting both that the direction is different and that it is very strongly different. And again, we’re asking different questions from the general social survey, so it’s not a one for one, but we’re trying to get at a similar kind of thing. 

So I think there are some lessons to be learned there. I think it’s worth pointing out too that the second set of questions where we basically give people two words and we ask them to pick which one they agree with more about their future. So for example, when thinking about the future, do you feel more hopeful or more fearful or are you pretty neutral between the two? And parents were very strongly just more optimistic and chose the more positive words even more so than the first question that Colyn mentioned than non-parents. For example, between optimism and pessimism, non-parents are twice as likely to be pessimistic than parents when thinking about the future. So you can only do so much with this because do happier people have kids or do kids make people happy? People will have different ideas about that. And there could be some of both going on. 

And this is classic causal problems when trying to discern social science. But I do think a lot of people who study these kinds of things, I’d be interested to hear from them, from demographers, from sociologists, just to hear what they think of how we have phrased these questions and some of their results and why. Would be interested in some takes from people who are more experienced and more well versed in this field, why they think the results are just so strongly opposite of what… You can kind of see as a generally accepted norm in research in this area. So I think we’ve tapped into something interesting. 

Mike McShane: Yeah, I know Brad Wilcox of the University of Virginia has been looking into some, I just follow him on Twitter and he’s- 

John Kristof: That’s one name I have in mind. Brad talked to us. 

Mike McShane: Yeah, he’s one of these guys who… He’s sort of making similar arguments over time. I don’t know… My like… Not as an expert in any way, but as a parent, I think when I look at some of these things, happiness, I think how questions are phrased or how people think about it. In my personal experience, I think that it’s sort of happiness finds another gear when you become a parent, so you’re happy in a different way. And I think it might be difficult for surveys to capture that because it’s one of those things where people say, “Oh, when you have kids, you lose free time.” You’re like, “True. But that time is then occupied by your kids who are wonderful and it’s great to spend time with them.” So it’s like different. You lose autonomy, but you gain love and devotion and all of these wonderful things. 

So I think it’s hard for people to conceptualize it because it may be a difference in kind, not just a difference in degree. But personally, looking at this, if I think of myself when I wasn’t a parent versus now when I am a parent, I’m definitely happier. I think I’m definitely more satisfied. I think I’m definitely enjoy life more. I think it’s true, but again, in a sort of different way. And if you would explain to me what my life looks like now to pre-parent me, I’d be like, “That doesn’t sound like fun.” But then when you’re doing it you’re like, “Oh, actually this is kind of awesome.” I don’t know whether the equivalent is something like runners high or something like that where it’s like on running long distances sounds terrible, but then it’s like when you’re actually doing it, you’re like, “Oh my God, I feel amazing.” This is crazy. But not that I really run long distances or have done enough exercise to experience runners high, but that’s at least what people tell me happens. 

I’m going to go in a slightly different direction as I just detoured there. I’m going to detour back sort of. My most surprising number was a variation of sort of what we looked at here was looking at this thriving question. So as Colyn described it, we did a kind of net promoter score for this. So what we did was we asked people to rate, do you generally answer the question… How do you generally feel about your life on a scale from 0 to 10? Where 0 means you feel like you are suffering to a high degree, and 10 means you are thriving to a high degree. And we were able to construct this sort of net thriving index, like a net promoter score where we say, “You’re thriving if you scored it 8, 9 or 10, you’re suffering if you were a 0, 1 or 2. And if you were a 3 through 7, you’re neutral.” 

So to get the net thriving index, we take the percentage of people who identified as thriving, subtract those who are suffering and that’s your net thriving index. So for example, school parents, 36% of school parents said that they were thriving, 6% said they were suffering. So you have a net thriving index of 30. That’s basically how the math worked. The thing that stood out to me though, increasingly this is a pattern that we’re seeing in a couple different numbers, but if you break it down by race and ethnicity, we had three groups in what we showed here in the slide that Morning Consult pulled together. Black respondents, non-Hispanic white respondents and Hispanic respondents. And if you rank order them by the net thriving index, it is black respondents, then non-Hispanic white, and then Hispanic. 

There was a net thriving index of 26 for black respondents. So 34% said that they were thriving and 8% said that they were suffering. Amongst non-Hispanic whites, it’s 31% thriving and only 7% suffering. And for Hispanic respondents, it’s 20% and seven to a net thriving of 13%. This is one of these findings, and I actually went back and looked at some of these previous surveys where we see the highest percentage of respondents selecting like the positive answer. So this month it was about thriving, that they were the demographic group that identified that they were thriving the most. Back in March, it was gifted and talented. They had the highest percentage of children participating in gifted and talented programs. In February, it was black respondents who were most likely to say that American schools were on the right track. So this is this really interesting pattern that we’re seeing. 

I think it’s definitely against the grain. That’s not something I think if you were to follow most media reports and you asked people to sort of rank order based on race and ethnicity the way folks would answer those questions, but it’s now actually something we’re starting to consistently see. I think it’s worth probably digging into some of our other questions and the demographics of it, but it was definitely something that stood out to me. On the flip side for our second segment today, we have our segment that we call the Death and Taxes Most Predictable Number. So a number that we saw this month that did not surprise us, it’s something that we see very consistently and we sort of expect it. John, what was your Death and Taxes Most Predictable number for the month? 

John Kristof: Well, the one that I wanted to talk about is one that we have talked about before because it is remarkably stable and that is preference for a hybrid approach to education. This is one that we have been asking about for a long time and one that just continues to amaze me and my attention was drawn to it a little bit because… And this is a question that we asked that stirred up a little bit of conversation in the Twitter verse recently about what this means and what values people are reflecting. So I don’t know, given that there was a conversation about it, I’ll draw attention to it again. For anybody who has forgotten or hasn’t seen this in a while, since the pandemic was in full force, we started asking people, “In order to provide the best education for your children, what would your preferred weekly schedule look like between five days a week of schooling out of the home or five days of the week in the home, some mix between the two? 

And up until mid last year, like mid 2022, we were phrasing it in a way of, “After the pandemic, what do you want?” And then eventually that just felt like an outdated way to ask the question. So we removed that part and now it’s just, “What is your ideal preference?” And that change in question wording really did not change how people were responding. And since the heat of the pandemic, about 40, 45% of parents would most prefer one to four days of the schooling week for the education to occur at home. And it’s just something that has not changed really over time. I mean, there was a bit of a spike in people interested in one to four days of schooling at home in early 2021 that kind of normalized at 40 to 45%. 

And it’s just been remarkably consistent no matter what the COVID waves were. No matter where in the school year we are is just remarkably consistent over time. No matter what national education conversations look like, no matter what kinds of crazy events that we see going on, it is just a remarkably consistent number. And I think at some point, we’re just going to have to think about what we want to do with this. I guess we just in general, as people who think about solving education problems and having a forward-thinking approach to education, at some point you have to recognize that people really don’t want to be in school or don’t want their kids to be in school for five days a week. And I guess one other change that… I guess I don’t know the data to how much it’s happening, but I feel like I’ve seen enough stories going on recently about a lot of companies hybrid work approaches seem to be going away. 

And I don’t know how widespread that is. I don’t know if there is good data for me to look at to see how widespread that is. But if it is true that fewer companies are doing a hybrid work approach, I would’ve assumed that the preference for one to four days of education occurring at home would’ve gone down. And it really hasn’t. If anything, we actually saw a bit of a bump in people who would prefer that compared to last month. This preference is just really, really stable. People are just as likely to prefer one to four days occurring at home as they are to prefer it completely outside the home. So it’s worth asking what kinds of benefits would that approach have? People might have different ideas as to what pros and cons there are, but think about what need is five days a week at school not meeting for 40 to 45% of families out there. I mean, is there something that we could be doing to enable something else so that need can be met? 

Mike McShane: Yes. Shout out to the National Hybrid Schools Conference that took place recently. I was there. 

John Kristof: Oh yeah, of course. I didn’t even think about that connection. 

Mike McShane: Yeah. No, Paul DiPerna from EdChoice was there as well, saw lots of old friends here. It is just a wonderful place. People doing cool and interesting things folks should definitely check out, there’s the… I think it’s called the National Hybrid School Research Center. It’s a Kennesaw State University, Eric Warren and others who are affiliated with it, if you’re interested in research and writing and smart thinking on that. So Kennesaw State National Hybrid School Center, check it out. But great point. Colyn, what was your death and taxes most predictable number of the month? 

Colyn Ritter: So I’m going to go back to the thriving question, Mike. And I think you made a really good point about our black respondents and how optimistic they are and things like that. A theme that we’re seeing in our data and another theme that I’ve observed over the last two surveys, and that includes our teen survey that we haven’t talked about yet on here, but hopefully we are soon. It had a lot of really good findings, so I’m going to plug that. But currently, we asked the striving question to adults, non-parents, school parents, but we also broke it out by demographics, race, community type, things like that. We also asked LGBTQ students this question and only 18% of LGBTQ students feel as though they’re thriving compared to 16% saying that they’re suffering. So like Mike talked about earlier, that is a net thriving score of +2. 

That is by far the lowest of the groups that we surveyed. I mean, we’re looking at any of the demographic groups having a net thriving score of at least 20, most of them having at least 20. Some are in the teens, but LGBTQ students are around 2%. And I think… That brings me back to an NEA, National Education Association survey last year around this time talking about LGBTQ students and the troubles they’ve had in school, around school, things like that. And I think it’s just worth mentioning again that as this is unsurprising, I think it’s also equally as sad and points to things that we need to work on to provide more services for these students. And we talked about in the teen survey, I won’t dive too much into it, but we talked about how teens would rate their different things in terms of support. 

So we asked about their schools and their teachers, and I know LGBTQ students were towards the bottom of that. And in the NEA survey last year around this time, they asked a really good question about things that would help improve their feelings or help make their feelings about school better or make them feel better at school in general. And some of the things they said were more mental health services as well as more supportive teachers and a couple other things. And I think that points to another theme that we’ve seen parents in this survey have asked and other questions they’ve employed for and asked for enhanced mental health services for students or just services offered from the school. 

 So yeah, I think this was one that wasn’t surprising to me, but again, it is another indicator that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done from inside the school aspect of these things and how we can help foster a better environment for these students because whether it’s teens or adults, in this case, in this survey, we are seeing the fact that LGBTQ respondents are feeling underserved or they aren’t feeling to the level that we’d hope or being among other demographic groups. So I think it’s a really sensitive topic and also something that we need to work hard to improve because… Yeah. I hope to come back in like five, six months and see this. And I like this question, so I hope we keep asking it, but I’d like to see this number increase and see the suffering decrease because this is one that pops off the page of this chart when you guys get a chance to look at it, there’s one that does not look like the rest and it’s because of the suffering number. And I hope that number decreases. 

Mike McShane: Colyn Ritter taking a bold stand against suffering. Good for you. I appreciate it. 

Colyn Ritter: It’s brave. 

Mike McShane: Wanting to see the number of people suffering go down. You know what, good for you. I agree with you, but I agree- 

Colyn Ritter: It’d be a hard take. 

Mike McShane: I know, right? But good think that that’s… I kid. But that’s actually a very good point and I’m glad you brought it up. My Death and Taxes Most Predictable Number, though even as I look at it was slightly unpredictable this month, but one we haven’t talked about in a long time, but I think definitely will continue to matter is how the general public and parents consistently, predictably, set your watch to it, underestimate how much we spend on schools. It is just something that we see. Every month we ask this question, “How much you think is spent per year per student on your state’s public schools? Give us an average to the nearest thousand dollars.” And it is a fraction of what it actually is this month. All adults put their guess, usually this is around where we see it, which is about $5,000. 

That was… I believe the median estimate was $5,000 per kid per year. The actual number, depending on what you want to include or not include, I think we are sort of conservative in the number. We say that it’s 13,500 basically, is about the all-in per student per year. So all adults say that it’s 5,000. What’s wild but consistent is that school parents are oftentimes worse than all adults in being able to accurately estimate what school spend each year. And this month was no different. School parents, the median estimate for school spending was $3,000 per student per year. That’s how much parents think is being spent. And I just… We’ve said it before, but we should say it again. It is difficult to understate how much these perceptions distort our conversations about education. When people think that we’re only spending $3,000 per kid, I totally get why they think, “Hey, you folks that are critical of the American education system, what’s wrong with you? Take it easy on these folks. They have so little money to be able to do this.” 

I totally get folks saying, “Listen, the answer is we have to spend more money. We only get $3,000 per kid. How can you possibly run a school on that amount of money?” If you believe that to be true, I totally get it. I totally get that that is the reaction that people have. And I don’t think that that’s actually unreasonable. If it were actually true that our schools were only spending $3,000 per kid per year, I totally get, yeah, we got to take it easy. You can only do so much. The problem of course is that that isn’t true. That schools in actuality spend more than four times that amount of money per student per year. Multiply that by how many kids are in a classroom and you see the amount of money that is there. 

I think knowing that, that puts it well within our rights to be critical and ask questions about how that money is being spent, if it is being put to its best and highest use, if there should be more freedom and flexibility associated with it. But I just think this is one of these things that… A question that we’ve asked over and over again, an answer that we’ve gotten over and over again and just unfortunately just a really pernicious misapprehension that exists out in the world. Okay, we’re going to bring it home with our last segment today. And I’ve been trying to figure out a clever name for this segment. The point of it is, what is the number that parents should be most interested in or is most important to parents? I was thinking of using family matters, but then I realized that that’s a pun on a television show that… I see Colyn as nodding. 

Colyn Ritter: I don’t hate that. But 

Mike McShane: You understand the… John, do you understand the reference when I say family matters. 

John Kristof: I apologize. I do not. 

Mike McShane: It’s okay. It was a sitcom. It was Steve Urkel. This is like more from my childhood. You might have seen him… But no, this is my exact problem because I was like, “I’m going to date myself if I say family matters.” Because there are people listening to this podcast, they’re like, “Oh yeah, Steve Urkel, of course.” And then there are other people, younger people who are like, “Yeah, I have no idea what that is.” So I was thinking, what if we were the family guys like, “Hey, Family Guys.” But that’s not exactly right. That’s not really what we’re doing. And then Family Guys took me to Family Ties, which is even older than Family Matters. Then I was like, All In the Family,” That’s, I think, even older. So I think we’ll start with Family Matters subject to revision in the future for the very reason that was just illustrated here. That dates me to a child of the nineties. So yeah, whatever we’re going to call this. Colyn, what do you think is the number that is most important to, or that parents should care the most about? 

Colyn Ritter: We could name this like the progressive parent data because they do a good job making fun of parents or… Yeah. People becoming their parents- 

Mike McShane: Oh, those great commercials- 

Colyn Ritter: For caring about the trash or elevator etiquette or something. That’s one of the few commercials I can stomach. So I feel cool, feel good highlighting- 

Mike McShane: I love those commercials. 

Colyn Ritter: Yeah, I feel good highlighting that. So maybe it has something to do with that. So the number I’m going to go with, and I think this is one of the first podcasts where we actually haven’t talked about any school choice findings. And I’m not going to go the traditional route with school choice support or favorability or any demographic breakdowns of choice questions. But I am going to go to what happens after you have the ability to choose in your state, in the state you live in and enacts any school choice policies. And that actually comes with switching schools. So we ask parents, “Besides moving from grade school to middle school or middle school to high school, has your child ever switched from one’s type of school to the other?” So in previous months we’ve seen anywhere between a fourth or a third of parents saying their child has switched schools. 

And I think it’s interesting to see the demographic breakdown of those. And usually we see special education parents the most likely to say their child has switched schools and that remain true this month. And that can be for any reason. But I think it makes sense, special education parents and their children have unique needs and schools might not be able to meet those needs. And thankfully, those families are able to switch schools to better help their children. Private school parents are also up there with 36%. But I think it’s worth keeping an eye on in the sense of 2023 has been an absolutely fantastic year for school choice so far. A lot of new states enacting ESAs, some universal, and we’re really proud of those states and really happy to see that moving forward. But I’d expect to see this number increase hopefully with parents having the ability to choose and in realizing, “Hey, maybe this school that I’m zoned in or that my child attends currently isn’t meeting the needs.” 

Our state just enacted some school choice legislation. I have now that ability to choose and I can actually look at this decision and say, “All right, maybe we can change schools now compared to a year ago where we were previously unable to do so.” And I think it’s interesting to see also the bottom tier of parents who do say their child switches schools and that includes low income parents as well as district school parents. So I’d be interested to see if those groups are able to move up from the bottom and start to have some flexibility when it comes to their child schooling. And also to the point I talked about earlier, and I know I’ve talked a decent amount about the teen survey, which we will talk about at a later date, but those LGBTQ teens that aren’t receiving the support from the schools that is now… 

Being able to change schools, could be on the plate, could be on their parents… Could be a tool in their toolbox now if they live in one of those states. And as more states enact these, I’d be curious… These school choice laws, I’d be curious to see if that number increases to maybe 35, 40% instead of 25, 30%, what we’ve been seeing. And also to see if those demographics change both at the top and at the bottom. 

Mike McShane: Agreed. John, what is your number that matters most to parents? 

John Kristof: Yeah, mine is a little bit more of a different tone. So I was drawn to the questions that we have about school safety for parents because this survey went into the field three weeks after the shooting that occurred in Nashville, Tennessee. So I don’t know when this podcast is coming out, so it might feel like a very long time ago. But regardless, this is the first survey of parents in the general public that we’ve done since this shooting happened. And just wanted to see if there was basically any differences in how parents viewed school safety now versus what happened in Texas nearly a year ago, and not much change. So we see basically a very similar picture to what we have seen since we started asking any kinds of school safety questions after the Uvalde shooting, which means that about half of school parents say that they are either extremely or very concerned about a violent intruder such as a mass shooter entering their child’s school. 

In this month in particular, it was 52%, which is no change from the number that we saw right before the shooting. So on one hand maybe it’s a little surprising to me, it is surprising that this number wouldn’t be higher after something as crazy and tragic as that. But I think it’s… Maybe we’ve reached just a certain level of concern about this that is just going to occur no matter what. So since Uvalde happened, we’ve seen about half of parents either extremely very concerned about this and tagging one more school shooting to the national conversation doesn’t really change how concerned parents are about it because they’re already very concerned. For whatever it’s worth. We did do a split sample of this question where parents randomly either see a reference to the Nashville shooting or they don’t see a reference to the Nashville shooting. So the group that randomly saw something like, “As a result of the recent mass shooting that occurred at a school in Nashville, Tennessee, how concerned are you?” 

That group was five percentage points more likely to be very concerned, which is an uptick and about the same uptick as we saw when we did a split sample with the Uvalde situation last year. So I don’t know, we have two data points now suggesting that reference to the latest national story of a school shooting basically increases the share of parents who are extremely, are very concerned by about five percentage points. Yeah. So what does this mean for parents? I mean, I think this is parents and also what parents are telling the rest of us, I suppose. And that is that this is just a top level concern. A country, a society and education system where half of the parents are consistently concerned about their child’s safety at their school is definitely not ideal. And that level of anxiety and concern I think would have kind of ripple effects as well in ways that I’m not really qualified to talk about. 

But that level of concern and anxiety probably inhibits openness to beneficial things and in other areas. Yeah, so I mean, in other words, just to summit I guess, parents aren’t really any more concerned about school shootings than they were before the Nashville shooting, but that is just a comment on how concerned parents are about school shootings in general than it is about the Nashville thing in particular. At some point you have to wonder at what point are we going to take this concern seriously and see that parents kind of mean it. 

Mike McShane: So I’m going to go in a slightly different direction in the sense that I think the numbers that matter a lot to parents are some of these new questions that we asked, and I won’t rehash everything. So we spend a lot of time talking about how school parents are more likely to say that they’re satisfied across a variety of measures, whether it’s relationships with family, sports system, mental health, overall wellbeing, life direction, physical health than non-parents. And as we look across the questions that we ask, more likely to say that they’re hopeful to have a sense of purpose, they’re optimistic, happy, satisfied, enthusiastic, enjoying life, feeling in control across all of those different areas. I think that’s a number that matters. Perhaps this matters for… The population we’re talking about is school-aged parents, so maybe there may be some differences if you have non-school aged children, you may not feel as… Your physical health or life direction might not be headed in that direction. 

I think it’s important also that we are not making sort of causal claims here where we’re saying, “Having kids will make you happier.” It could be that happier people are more likely to have kids. So we’re just observing a phenomenon. We’re not necessarily making causal claims about it. But I just think it’s really important because there is a healthy amount of survey research out there, particularly of young people who haven’t had children yet. And you ask them surveys about, “Do you want to have kids? Why or why not?” And there’s clearly a tremendous amount of anxiety about it. There’s a tremendous amount of fear about it. Younger people will say… There’s been a few interesting polls that are actually around the world, it’s not even just an American problem, but lots of people expressing concerns about having children and not wanting to have children as a result of it. 

And I think that it’s important to highlight findings like this, that people are happy, people who have kids are happy, people whose kids are in school are happy. And of course, even a lot of these areas that you might think about of just feeling in control, you would think, “Oh, wait a second. If you have kids, you feel less in control.” No, that’s not actually what we see. We see people with kids feeling like they’re more in control. Mental health or physical health or any of those things you think might deteriorate as a result of having kids and time and all of those things. No, not necessarily the case that people we see as parents. Again, not claiming it’s causal, but I think that it’s definitely something that’s important to highlight in a world where it can be very, very anti parent and a lot of doom and gloom about parenthood. 

It’s important to get those numbers out there. But like I said, they’re pretty well-tried from what we’ve been talking about today. If you want to see all of these details, edchoice.morningconsultintelligence.com, you can head up to the upper right-hand corner for the resource downloads. You can see the great PowerPoint presentation that Morning Consult put together. You can check out the cross tabs, which is all the different demographic groups, and dig into some of these questions that we’ve already started talking about on this podcast and hopefully got you interested. You can also see the full questionnaire and all of its transparent glory, so you know exactly how we ask questions when we ask, and where we asked them and how. As always, thank you Colyn. Thank you, John. It was a pleasure chatting with you about this. We have a new teens poll that if you go to our website, you’ll see the teens poll is there. 

We’re trying to put together a fun podcast for that. So I’m hoping that soon after hearing this podcast, you’ll see pop up in your feed one of those. It’s still sort of in the works. So this is my… I’m sort of teasing this here, right? So hey, coming down the pike, definitely check that out. But if not, I may not be on it, I’m not necessarily… It’s been a long time since I’ve been a teen. Both of you were teens much closer to when I was a teen. So I’d be like that meme of Steve Buscemi in the high school with the skateboard over his shoulder like, “How are we doing fellow kids?” But however we put that together, even if the next time we chat is next month in our next iteration of the Tracker Podcast, I look forward to that. Jacob Vinson, our podcast producer, thanks as always. And thanks to all of you for listening, and I look forward to chatting with you again the next time we’re together on EdChoice Chats.