By Corinne Murdock
Just over 87 percent of parents support school choice, according to a recent survey by Wordtips. The greatest majority of parents to express support were Black or African American parents at nearly 58 percent, followed by Hispanic or Latino parents at about 51 percent. A slight majority of parents reported that the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t change their perception of school choice; 2 in 5 parents supported school choice more since the pandemic.
776 parents were surveyed across the country. Nearly 53 percent were female and over 47 percent were male, averaging about 39 years old.
The study explained that nearly 90 percent of parent respondents understood the concept of school choice. A majority of respondents familiar with school choice were White, with Black or African American parents coming in a close second. Hispanic or Latino parents ranked third in familiarity, with Asians ranking last.
Access to safe schools was the primary reason that 87 percent of parents support school choice. Parents were nearly split on the runner-up reasons for supporting school choice: choosing better schools outside the district, greater flexibility for parents, supporting children’s talents, and better resources for children with learning disabilities or special needs.
Additionally, the concept of inclusivity was a sweeping reason for parental support of school choice: just over 65 percent of parents agreed with that sentiment. They believed it would make private and charter schools more inclusive environments.
Republicans strongly supported school choice by about 6 percent more than Democrats; independents and Democrats nearly tied on strong support, with Democrats strongly supporting school choice by about half a percentile more. Although, independents ranked higher on somewhat supporting school choice than both Republicans and Democrats.
Generation X strongly supported school choice slightly more than millennials.
Nearly half of the parents that expressed support for school choice reported that they don’t use it. The vast majority of those respondents explained that it was due to living in a district with a good public school.
Of the 116 parents that opposed school choice, over 46 percent said they were deterred by private and charter schools’ ability to deny admission. 42 percent reported that vouchers don’t provide full tuition. The three reasons listed after those two are often the top arguments for opposition to school choice: it takes away funding from public schools, it would lead to privatization of education, and it would benefit wealthier families over low-income ones.
Additionally, 46 percent of parents feared that school choice harbored a hidden agenda in which religious institutions would receive indirect, secret funding.
When asked what priorities schools should have, 43 percent of parents believed that “life skills” classes should be taught. A close second in desired priorities was increased teacher wages.
Corinne Murdock is a contributing reporter for AZ Free News. In her free time, she works on her books and podcasts. Follow her on Twitter, @CorinneMurdock or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.