A few short months ago, Phi Delta Kappa, a professional association for educators, released their annual survey that measures the American attitudes toward various issues facing public schools. For PublicSchoolOptions.org, this meant a confirmation of many of our long-held beliefs about education, and the role of parents in educational decision-making.
The 50-state sample of 1,221 people yielded some interesting results for those families taking advantage of school choice programs in their states. Chief among them is the “most lopsided result in this survey” which indicated that 84% of participants believed that failing schools should be kept open and improved, not closed. This result should embolden many parent advocates to continue fighting for a seat at the table when these decisions are considered.
The survey also tackled the content students learn in schools. In terms of the soft skills that schools instill in students, only 30 to 40 percent of respondents believe that public schools in their communities are effectively teaching critical thinking, perseverance, civic engagement, and teamwork extremely or very well. These numbers shed light on the rights parents should have to access new educational models on behalf of their children. If parents value the these skills, and traditional public schools are not successfully providing them, they should have a choice to find another educational option that will fit the needs of their family.
It’s hard to argue that parents don’t know their kids best. This fall, let’s continue urging policymakers to give families more ownership of their children’s educational futures.