How the Public Grades Institutions

The percentage of the general public assigning high grades (A/B) fell across all institutions from spring to fall 2020. High grades assigned to local schools decreased the most (-19 points). A majority of the general public still give high grades to local businesses.

% of General Population Giving Grade “A” or “B”

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22–June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q24

How Parents Grade Institutions

School parents are more likely to give high grades (A/B) to local schools and businesses, though the proportions giving those high grades declined across all institutions from spring to fall 2020.

% of Current School Parents Giving Grade “A” or “B”

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22–June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q24

Changes in Child Happiness, Stress

Parents are more likely to say their children are more stressed and less happy now compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared to the spring results, a higher percentage of parents said their child is more stressed (+8 points) and less happy (+7 points).

% of Current School Parents

Note: Responses of “Don’t Know” and “Refusal” not shown. For the online survey, respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is also not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22−June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP1 and QCP2

Changes in Child Happiness by School Type

Parents with children in private school or homeschool reported that their children are overall happier now than they were pre-pandemic.

% of Current School Parents by Schooling Sector

Note: Responses of “Don’t Know” and “Refusal” not shown. For the online survey, respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is also not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP1 and QCP2

Changes in Child Stress by School Type

Parents with children in charter schools or homeschooling are more likely to report their children are much less stressed than public district school parents.

% of Current School Parents by Schooling Sector

Note: Responses of “Don’t Know” and “Refusal” not shown. For the online survey, respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is also not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP1 and QCP2

Parents’ Pandemic Concerns

Parents said they are most concerned about their child’s virus exposure and less so about work-related matters.

% of Current School Parents

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP5

Parent Comfort with Returning to School

Nearly two out of five parents are not at all comfortable with their children returning in-person to school, much higher (+15 points) than those giving the same response back in the spring.

% of Current School Parents

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22−June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP8

Parent Comfort with Returning to School by School Type

Private and charter school parents are much more likely to be extremely comfortable with their children returning to school in-person than parents of other schooling sectors.

% of Current School Parents

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22−June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP8

Parents Opting for Remote Learning

Slightly more than half of all school parents (51%) report voluntarily choosing for their children to learn remotely, if offered by the school or district.

% of Current School Parents by Demographic

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP9

Parent Readiness for Remote Learning

Nearly one out of four parents say they are slightly or not at all prepared to facilitate virtual or remote learning.

% of Current School Parents

Note: Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP12

Parent Readiness for Remote Learning by School Type

Majorities of private school and charter school parents said they were extremely/very prepared to facilitate virtual or remote learning.

% of Current School Parents – Preparedness for Facilitating Virtual/Remote Learning by Sector

Note: Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP12

Grading Child’s School by School Type

Generally, private school parents were more likely to give A/B grades on various school dimensions than parents in other sectors.

% of Current School Parents Assigning Grades Who Graded “A” or “B” by Sector

Note: Responses of “Don’t Know” or “Not Applicable” not shown. Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is also not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCPGRADES

Education Modality

Nearly two out of five parents said their child’s school or district is educating students completely online.

% of Current School Parents

Prevalence of Different Modalities

Nearly two out of five parents said their child’s school or district is educating students completely online.

% of Current School Parents

Note: Responses of “Don’t Know” or “Not Applicable” not shown. Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is also not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP13

Parent Impressions, Feelings

Parents whose children are online-only because of the pandemic appear most likely to say it makes them feel safe/secure.

TOP 15 OVERALL LISTED – % of Current School Parents

Note: Responses of “Don’t Know” or “Not Applicable” not shown. Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is also not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP13

% of Daily Remote Learning

More than half of parents reported their student spends five or more hours per day doing remote schoolwork, which is more than double the percentage of those who responded in May/June 2020.

% of Current School Parents

Note: Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22−June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP15

% of Daily Remote Learning by School Type

One-third of private school parents reported their child spends five or more hours per day doing remote schoolwork, which is substantially less than same response from public district school parents.

% of Current School Parents by Sector

Note: Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP15

% of Daily Remote Learning That (Live)

The median percentage of daily time students are interacting with a teacher in real time more than doubled since spring: 45 percent vs. 20 percent.

% Current School Parents Reporting Synchronous Time

Note: Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22−June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP16

% of Daily Remote Learning (Live) by School Type

Charter school and private school parents are more likely than district school parents to report their children spending additional time interacting with a teacher in real time.

% Current School Parents Reporting Synchronous Time

Note: Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP16

Homeschooling Favorability

More than half of current school parents are more favorable of homeschooling as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. That reflects an increase of +12 percentage points since the spring.

% of Current School Parents

Note: Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22−June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP22

Learning Pods

Nearly one out of five current school parents (19%) said they have a child in a learning pod. Charter school and private school parents are much more likely than district school parents to report their children are currently in a learning pod.

% of Current School Parents with Children in Learning Pod by Demographic

Learning Pods

Nearly one out of five current school parents (19%) said they have a child in a learning pod. Charter school and private school parents are much more likely than district school parents to report their children are currently in a learning pod.

% of Current School Parents with Children in Learning Pod by Demographic

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP25

Likelihood to Seek Tutoring

Nearly half of parents say they are very/somewhat likely to seek out tutoring for their students this school year.

% of Current School Parents

Note: Responses of “Don’t Know” and “No Opinion” are not shown. Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is also not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP29

Likelihood to Seek Tutoring by School Type

Private and charter school parents are much more likely than public district and homeschool parents to seek out tutoring for their child this school year.

% of Current School Parents by Sector

Note: Responses of “Don’t Know” and “No Opinion” are not shown. Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is also not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), QCP29

Public on Direction of K–12 Education

More than three out of five Americans say K–12 is on the wrong track. That reflects a +7 point increase since spring and the highest level since 2013.

% of General Population

Notes: Phone-only survey results shown for 2013–2017. Mixed-mode results (online and phone) shown for 2018–2020. Responses within parentheses were volunteered. “DK” means “Don’t Know.” “Ref” means “Refusal.” For the online survey, the respondent was permitted to skip the question.

Sources: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22–June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q1; EdChoice, Schooling in America Survey, 2016–2019; Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Schooling in America Survey, 2013–2015

Parents on Direction of K–12 Education

But current school parents are less pessimistic about the direction of K–12 education than the general public.

% of Current School Parents

Notes: Phone-only survey results shown for 2013–2017. Mixed-mode results (online and phone) shown for 2018–2020. Responses within parentheses were volunteered. “DK” means “Don’t Know.” “Ref” means “Refusal.” For the online survey, the respondent was permitted to skip the question.

Sources: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22–June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q1; EdChoice, Schooling in America Survey, 2016–2019; Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Schooling in America Survey, 2013–2015

Parent Satisfaction by School Type

A far greater proportion of private school parents report being very satisfied with their children’s schooling experiences, compared to other sectors.

% of Current School Parents

Notes: Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), Q4

Parents’ Reasons for Choosing a School

More than two-thirds of homeschoolers said “safe environment” was one of the top three most influential factors in deciding to homeschool. That response frequency is much greater than for other sectors.

% of Current School Parents

Notes: Respondents were permitted to skip the question, which is not shown.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), Q8

Grading Local Schools by Type

Americans are more likely to give the private schools in their area an A/B grade, compared to local districts or charter schools.

% of General Population Giving “A” or “B” Grade

Notes: Phone-only survey results shown for 2013–2017. Mixed-mode results (online and phone) shown for 2018–2020. Responses within parentheses were volunteered. “DK” means “Don’t Know.” “Ref” means “Refusal.” For the online survey, the respondent was permitted to skip the question.

Sources: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22–June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q11; EdChoice, Schooling in America Survey, 2016–2019; Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Schooling in America Survey, 2013–2015

Estimating School Spending

Most Americans and parents drastically underestimated public school spending. The median respondent in both groups said spending is significantly less than the lowest state average.

% of Respondents

Estimating School Spending

Most Americans and parents drastically underestimated public school spending. The median respondent in both groups said spending is significantly less than the lowest state average.

% of Respondents

Note: Percentages based on those offering estimates

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), Q9

Is School Funding Enough?

Question Wording A: Do you believe that public school funding in [Your State] is at a level that is:

Question Wording B: According to the most recent information available, on average $[Amount] is being spent per year on each student attending public schools in [Your State]. Do you believe that public school funding in [Your State] is at a level that is:

% of General Population by Split Question Version

Notes: Responses within parentheses were volunteered. “DK” means “Don’t Know.” “Ref” means “Refusal.” For the online survey, the respondent was permitted to skip the question.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), Q10

Schooling Preferences vs. Enrollment Patterns

Actual enrollment patterns do not reflect the diversity of parents’ schooling preferences.

% of Respondents

Notes: The percentages in this chart reflect a composite that averages split samples’ responses to two slightly different versions of this question. Responses within parentheses were volunteered: “DK” means “Don’t Know.” “Ref” means “Refusal.” For the online survey, the respondent was permitted to skip the question.

Sources: Authors’ calculations; National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), Q12

Parents' Reasons for School Type Preference

There is a wide range of reasons parents say they prefer any given school type. Homeschoolers cite safety reasons more than any other by far.

TOP FIVE LISTED – % of Current School Parents by Preferred School Type with Children Enrolled in Type

Notes: Lists cite the total number of unweighted interviews (N) per school type grouping. However, all percentages reflect the count of coded responses divided by the total number of weighted interviews. Unweighted N’s are provided so the reader can roughly assess the reliability of reported percentages.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), Q13

Charter School Favorability

How we describe charter schools: “Charter schools are public schools that have more control over their own budget, staff, and curriculum, and are exempt from many existing public school regulations.”

When given this description of charter schools, support increased by six points for parents and 10 points for the general population.

% of Respondents Replying “Strongly/Somewhat Favor”

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), Q14 and Q15

School Voucher Favorability

How we describe school vouchers: “A school voucher system allows parents the option of sending their child to the school of their choice, whether that school is public or private, including both religious and non-religious schools. If this policy were adopted, tax dollars currently allocated to a school district would be allocated to parents in the form of a school voucher to pay partial or full tuition for the child’s school.”

When given a description of school vouchers, support increased by 20 points for parents and 21 points for the general population.

% of Respondents Replying “Strongly/Somewhat Favor”

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), Q16 and Q17

ESA Favorability

How we describe ESAs: “An education savings account in K–12 education—often called an ESA—establishes for parents a government-authorized savings account with restricted, but multiple uses for educational purposes. Parents can then use these funds to pay for: school tuition, tutoring, online education programs, therapies for students with special needs, textbooks or other instructional materials, or future college expenses.”

When given a description of ESAs, support increased by 29 points for parents and 27 points for the general population.

% of Respondents Replying “Strongly/Somewhat Favor”

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), Q18 and Q19

Favorability for Choice Reforms Over Time

Levels of total support for different types of educational choice reforms are at all time highs.

% of General Population

Favorability for Choice Reforms Trends

Levels of total support for different types of educational choice reforms are at all time highs.

% of General Population

Notes: From 2013 to 2015 we slightly changed question wording to more accurately reflect the features of an ESA program and to avoid the inclusion of potentially loaded words or limiting ESA uses. Phone-only survey results shown for 2013–2017. Mixed-mode results (online and phone) shown for 2018–2020.

Sources: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22− June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q15, Q17, Q19, and Q23; EdChoice, Schooling in America Survey, 2016–2019; Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Schooling in America Survey, 2013–2015

Favorability Over Time

More than four out of five Americans support ESAs.

% of General Population

Favorability Trends

More than four out of five Americans support ESAs.

% of General Population

Notes: From 2013 to 2015 we slightly changed question wording to more accurately reflect the features of an ESA program and to avoid the inclusion of potentially loaded words or limiting ESA uses. Phone-only survey results shown for 2013–2017. Mixed-mode results (online and phone) shown for 2018–2020. Responses within parentheses were volunteered. “DK” means “Don’t Know.” “Ref” means “Refusal.” For the online survey, the respondent was permitted to skip the question.

Sources: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22− June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q19; EdChoice, Schooling in America Survey, 2016– 2019 (partial samples of General Population); Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Schooling in America Survey, 2013–2015

Parent Favorability Trends

Nearly nine out of 10 parents support ESAs.

% of Current School Parents

Notes: From 2013 to 2015 we slightly changed question wording to more accurately reflect the features of an ESA program and to avoid the inclusion of potentially loaded words or limiting ESA uses. Phone-only survey results shown for 2013–2017. Mixed-mode results (online and phone) shown for 2018–2020. Responses within parentheses were volunteered. “DK” means “Don’t Know.” “Ref” means “Refusal.” For the online survey, the respondent was permitted to skip the question.

Sources: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22− June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q19; EdChoice, Schooling in America Survey, 2016– 2019 (partial samples of General Population); Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Schooling in America Survey, 2013–2015

Reasons for Supporting ESAs

Supporters said increased freedom and flexibility for parents was the most important reason they favor ESAs.

% of General Population Replying “Strongly/Somewhat Favor” ESAs from Descriptive Question

Notes: Volunteered responses not shown. “Don’t Know, Refusals, nor skips reflected in this chart.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), Q20

Reasons for Opposing ESAs

More than one out of four oppose ESAs because they believe it would take funds away from public schools.

% of General Population Replying “Strongly/Somewhat Oppose” ESAs from Descriptive Question

Notes: Volunteered responses not shown. “Don’t Know, Refusals, nor skips reflected in this chart.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), Q21

Universal vs. Needs-Based ESAs

Question Wording A: Some people believe that ESAs should be available to all families, regardless of income and special needs. Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

Question Wording B: Some people believe that ESAs should be available only to families based on financial need. Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

% of General Population by Split Sample

Notes: Volunteered responses not shown. “Don’t Know, Refusals, nor skips reflected in this chart.

Source: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted September 30–October 20, 2020), Q22

Universal vs. Needs-Based ESAs

Question Wording A: Some people believe that ESAs should be available to all families, regardless of income and special needs. Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

Question Wording B: Some people believe that ESAs should be available only to families based on financial need. Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

% of General Population by Split Sample

Favorability Trends

Nearly three-fourths of the public support school vouchers—the highest level we’ve seen in our annual poll.

% of General Population

Notes: Phone-only survey results shown for 2013–2017. Mixed-mode results (online and phone) shown for 2018–2020. Responses within parentheses were volunteered. “DK” means “Don’t Know.” “Ref” means “Refusal.” For the online survey, the respondent was permitted to skip the question.

Sources: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22− June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q17; EdChoice, Schooling in America Survey, 2016– 2019 (partial samples of General Population); Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Schooling in America Survey, 2013–2015

Parent Favorability Trends

Nearly three-fourths of parents support school vouchers—the highest level we’ve seen in our annual poll.

% of Current School Parents

Notes: Phone-only survey results shown for 2013–2017. Mixed-mode results (online and phone) shown for 2018–2020. Responses within parentheses were volunteered. “DK” means “Don’t Know.” “Ref” means “Refusal.” For the online survey, the respondent was permitted to skip the question.

Sources: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22− June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q17; EdChoice, Schooling in America Survey, 2016– 2019 (partial samples of General Population); Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Schooling in America Survey, 2013–2015

Parent Favorability Trends

Nearly three-fourths of parents support school vouchers—the highest level we’ve seen in our annual poll.

% of Current School Parents

Favorability Trends

Nearly three-fourths of the public support school tax-credit scholarships—the highest level we’ve seen in our annual poll.

% of General Population

Notes: We used slightly different question wording in 2013–2015, compared with the question version used in 2016–2020. Phone only survey results shown for 2013–2017. Mixed-mode results (online and phone) shown for 2018–2020. Responses within parentheses were volunteered. “DK” means “Don’t Know.” “Ref” means “Refusal.” For the online survey, the respondent was permitted to skip the question.

Sources: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22− June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q23; EdChoice, Schooling in America Survey, 2016– 2019 (partial samples of General Population); Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Schooling in America Survey, 2013–2015

Parent Favorability Trends

Nearly four out of five parents support tax-credit scholarships—the highest level we’ve seen in our annual poll.

% of Current School Parents

Notes: We used slightly different question wording in 2013–2015, compared with the question version used in 2016–2020. Phone only survey results shown for 2013–2017. Mixed-mode results (online and phone) shown for 2018–2020. Responses within parentheses were volunteered. “DK” means “Don’t Know.” “Ref” means “Refusal.” For the online survey, the respondent was permitted to skip the question.

Sources: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22− June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q23; EdChoice, Schooling in America Survey, 2016– 2019 (partial samples of General Population); Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Schooling in America Survey, 2013–2015

Parent Favorability Trends

Nearly four out of five parents support tax-credit scholarships—the highest level we’ve seen in our annual poll.

% of Current School Parents

Favorability Over Time

More than 70 percent of the general public support charter schools—the highest level we’ve seen in our annual poll.

% of General Population

Notes: Phone-only survey results shown for 2013–2017. Mixed-mode results (online and phone) shown for 2018–2020. Responses within parentheses were volunteered. “DK” means “Don’t Know.” “Ref” means “Refusal.” For the online survey, the respondent was permitted to skip the question.

Sources: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22− June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q15; EdChoice, Schooling in America Survey, 2016– 2019 (partial samples of General Population); Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Schooling in America Survey, 2013–2015

Parent Favorability Over Time

Seven out of 10 current school parents support charter schools—the highest level we’ve seen in our annual poll.

% of Current School Parents

Notes: Phone-only survey results shown for 2013–2017. Mixed-mode results (online and phone) shown for 2018–2020. Responses within parentheses were volunteered. “DK” means “Don’t Know.” “Ref” means “Refusal.” For the online survey, the respondent was permitted to skip the question.

Sources: EdChoice, 2020 Schooling in America Survey (conducted May 22− June 2 and September 30–October 20, 2020), Q15; EdChoice, Schooling in America Survey, 2016– 2019 (partial samples of General Population); Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, Schooling in America Survey, 2013–2015

Survey Profile

Administration/Fielding Dates: Wave2 = September 30 to October 20, 2020

Sponsor and Developer: EdChoice

Administration, Data Collection and Quality Control: Braun Research, Inc.

Population General Population: (Adults, Age 18+)

Sampling Frame: National sample of adults (age 18+) living in the United States, including D.C.

Sampling Method: Mixed Method (Phone: Probability-based; Dual frame | Online: Non-probability-based; Opt-in panel)

Mode: Phone for General Population, N = 302  (Cell Phone = 75% Landline = 25%); Online for General Population, N = 907; Phone/Online for School Parents, N = 1,677

Languages: English; Spanish option

Median Survey Time: Phone (General Population): 15.5 minutes; Online (General Population, Not School Parents): 15.1 minutes; Online (School Parents): 18.5 minutes

Sample Sizes: General Population, N = 1,209; School Parents (Plus Oversample), N = 1,677

Quotas: African-American School Parents, N = 401 [400]; Hispanic School Parents, N = 405 [400]

Weighting: General Population – Age, Census Division, Gender, Ethnicity, Race, Education, Phone Usage; School Parents – Age, Census Region, Gender, Race

Project Contact: Paul DiPerna, paul@edchoice.org