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.
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.
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.