Empowered by School Choice Movement, Parents Seeking New Schools for Fall

When a child is placed in the right learning environment for their individual needs, it can transform their academic experience. In the aftermath of the pandemic, more parents are realizing this and becoming more aware of the world of possibilities when it comes to education. A new survey by National School Choice Week highlights this trend.

As we draw closer to the next school year, many families are exploring new options for their children, including online education. In fact, nearly half of all parents recently surveyed across the United States have reported that they are actively seeking a new school for the 2023-24 school year. Of these parents, about 17 percent are currently weighing their choices, 13 percent have enrolled in a new school, 8.4 percent have applied, and 7.5 percent have opted for homeschooling.

The National School Choice Week survey, which took place in May 2023, also explored whether parents are satisfied with their child’s current school experiences. Nearly 45 percent of parents reported that the current school year was better than a previous year, 34.4 percent said it was relatively the same, and 20.5 percent said that it was worse. Of those who reported a less favorable school year, 64.2 percent said they are considering enrolling their child in a new school.

It’s important to note that although most parents reported the school year was the same or better than the previous academic year, only 54 percent of parents plan to keep their child enrolled in their current school. This means that parents and their children are eager to explore different avenues for learning and find the right fit as the possibilities of schooling options continue to evolve.

However, Black and Hispanic parents as well as parents aged 18-29 are leading the movement to find better fitting educational options. Reasons for seeking a change include transitioning to middle school or high school, relocation, and better learning options.

A poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies in December 2020 dug deeper into reasons why so many parents are looking for new school options. According to the poll, 40 percent of Black parents and their children have experienced racism within their local school district, which includes disparities in the quality of education, differences in discipline, bullying, and mistreatment and discrimination from teachers. According to these families, school choice—a movement that advocates for choosing the K-12 option that works best for individual students—helps to alleviate some of these challenges.

All of these data points suggest that the status quo simply isn’t working for many families. And this is just the beginning of a monumental shift in education—one in which each child’s individual characteristics, experiences, and learning styles can be truly complemented in their chosen learning environment.

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