The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice recently published a report highlighting the decisions of parents in Indiana. This report surveyed “more than 2,000 private school parents—including 1,185 parents with children in the state’s voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs”, asking them questions about “how satisfied or dissatisfied they were with their former schools vs. their current schools of choice, why they chose their children’s private schools, changes in their levels of school involvement and more.” As might be expected, school choice has made parents happy: in fact, a full 81% of parents reported being very satisfied with the new school they selected and 12% being somewhat satisfied.
Here is data from the report on the motivations for why Indiana parents used the voucher / tax credit scholarship to move their children to a different school:
● 39% of school choice parents said the most important reason they chose their current voucher or tax-credit scholarship school was religious environment/instruction; 13% said the most important reason for leaving their former school was a lack of religious environment/instruction.
● 20% said the most important reason for choosing their new school was better academics; 15% said a lack of academic quality was their most important reason for leaving their former school
● 19% said the most important reason for choosing their new school was morals/character/values instruction; 6% said a lack of this type of instruction was their most important reason.
Critics of school choice programs often claim that parents – especially those from disadvantaged areas – will find it too hard to find the right school for their child. But the Friedman survey found the opposite:
more than four out of five school choice parents (83%) said it was easy to find their current private school when using Indiana’s voucher or tax-credit scholarship programs, and only 1% said it was difficult.
The participants in the survey cite their social networks, which include extended family and church, as sources for where they learned about the educational opportunities around them.
Parents who are given the opportunity to choose are empowered to pick what they believe to be the best education option for their children. As this survey shows, parents who were given the opportunity to choose reported great satisfaction with the school of their choosing.
When it comes to education and school choice, this report just goes to show that we need to #TrustParents.
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