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Research

  • Nov 28 2017

2017 Schooling in America Survey

By Paul DiPerna, Michael Shaw, Drew Catt

This annual survey—developed and reported by EdChoice and interviews conducted by our partner, Braun Research, Inc.—measures public opinion and awareness on a range of K–12 education topics, including parents’ schooling preferences, educational choice policies, the federal government’s role in education and more. We report response levels, differences (“margins”) and intensities for the country and a range of demographic groups. And this year, our survey researchers oversampled parents of school-aged children and Americans living in small towns and rural areas to obtain more reliable results for those two subgroups.

Click here to listen to the authors discuss their report, key findings and more.

What Will I Learn? Download Report

Breaking Down EdChoice's 2017 National Survey


ADDITIONAL REPORT INFORMATION

In this report, you will learn:

  • 1

    American parents want access to a more diverse set of educational options than they are getting in K–12 education today.

    More than eight out of 10 American students attend public district schools, but in our interviews, only about three out of 10 parents said they would choose a district school as a first preference. To be precise, 42 percent would prefer private school; 33 percent, a district school; 15 percent, a charter school; 7 percent, a home school. Small town and rural respondents were significantly more likely than urbanites or suburbanites to prefer to homeschool their children.
  • 2

    Most current school parents rate their school districts well, but at least one-third have major issues with their responsiveness, communication and supports outside the classroom.

    Current school parents are more likely to give their school district positive ratings than former school parents and the general public. Current and former school parents rated their public school districts relatively well on effectiveness and performance, but at least one-third gave low marks on the following performance categories: providing academic support outside the classroom (42%), being responsive/proactive in unique situations (40%), providing counseling services (38%) and communicating effectively with parents (35%). The vast majority of Americans’ schooling experiences are with public school districts, and such schools ranked last in satisfaction. Of parents who have enrolled a child in a given school type: 93 percent were satisfied with private schools; 90 percent were satisfied with home schools; 75 percent were satisfied with public charter schools; 73 percent were satisfied with public district schools.
  • 3

    Americans’ support for ESAs is on the rise because people want better academics, more flexibility and more individual attention for students.

    When given a description of education savings accounts (ESAs), a flexible type of educational choice program, seven out of 10 Americans said they were in favor of ESAs. The margins of general support (+52 points) and strong support (+25 points) are large. We observed a noticeable jump (19 percentage points) in support for ESAs when compared to last year’s survey. The reasons respondents gave for favoring ESAs include: access to schools that have better academics (32%), more freedom and flexibility for parents (27%) and access to schools that provide more individual attention (20%).
  • 4

    The vast majority of Americans don’t trust the federal government to do the right thing all or most of the time, yet expect it to fund access to quality education and to protect students.

    Based on our survey, only 10 percent of Americans say they can trust the federal government to do what is right “always or most of the time.” When asked about specific activities that the federal government can pursue, a majority of respondents indicated a major federal role would be appropriate along the lines of funding access to a quality education for military families (72%), funding access to a quality education for students with disabilities (68%), protecting students’ civil rights (66%), funding access to a quality education for all students (64%) and funding access to a quality education for low-income students (61%).

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