Survey: Many parents say they would prefer private schools, but why?

Travis Pillow

EdChoice is out today with its annual survey of Americans’ views of education.

Like in previous years, the advocacy group’s “Schooling in America” survey asked parents what type of school they would prefer for their child. And it found similar results. More than four-fifths of school children attend public schools. But many parents said they would prefer private schools.

Survey data show parents would prefer private schools for their children, even though they’re more likely to enroll in private schools. Chart by EdChoice.

For school choice advocates, the implications are clear, though caveats apply. More parents would send their children to private schools if they could. That’s a powerful talking point for people who support vouchers, scholarship programs or education savings accounts.

This year’s report adds more details on another angle. When surveyors asked parents what type of school they’d prefer if “financial costs and transportation” were no consideration, private school preferences grew stronger.

Split A asked parents what form of schooling they would prefer. Split B asked their preferences if “financial costs and transportation were of no concern.” Private school preferences grew under the second question form, at the expense of charters and home education. Chart by EdChoice.

A variety of factors could be at work here. Perhaps when parents think of private schools, and money is no object, they think of elite institutions with five-figure tuition that few scholarship programs would cover. Perhaps some worry about transportation and other barriers that stand int he way of true school choice.

Some educational choice programs, like Nevada’s now-dormant education savings accounts, have tried to attack the latter problem. They would allow parents to spend public funds on private school tuition, or on transportation costs for their children. But it’s safe to say for many parents, tuition is still the biggest barrier.

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Irene P Reese December 8, 2017 - 5:49 pm

I prefer Private schools that are Christian based, Baptist only, they are doing much better in it then they did in the public schools, it’s more hands on with less student bodies in the class room , teachers are more able to see what is happening in their class , whom it began with, and more able to handle it in a Christian manner , then of a non Christian public school consisting of thirty five or more students per class, the smaller group classes the students pay more attention in class and learn more seriously, instead of paying attention to other students , it also furnishes split partitions per each child so they can study much better and not copy others work, their open but each desk has a particle board between each child so they keep their attention on their own work and it’s amazing how well it works for them. we love it, their grades has improved tremendously, thank God for privet Christian schools one of our boys has Autism, they have done miracles with him. he has gotten eleven scholarships at the end of the years, didn’t evens get one at the public schools, I back privet schools 1000000%

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