School Choice Summer Surge: Nearly Half of U.S. Parents Plan to Send Children to Different Schools Next Year

Fifty-one percent of school-switching parents want better education environments for their kids.

NASHVILLE, TN – As a record number of states across the nation expand K–12 school choice options for families, 45.9% of parents say that they plan to send at least one of their children to a new school this fall.

According to a new survey released today by the nonprofit National School Choice Awareness Foundation (NSCAF), 51% of school-switching parents said that they want better or safer education environments for their children. Others indicated that they are choosing new schools because their children are starting elementary, middle, or high school or because their family is relocating. 

Among those most likely to choose new schools are Black parents (60.6%) and Hispanic parents (52.5%). Majorities of parents between the ages of 18 and 29 (55.4%) and parents in urban areas or cities (55.7%) also plan to send at least one of their children to a new school next year.

The 45.9% of school-switching parents includes those who have done one of the following:

  • Enrolled their child(ren) in a new school for next year (13.2%)
  • Applied for their child(ren) to attend a new school next year (8.4%)
  • Made firm plans to switch their child(ren) to homeschooling (7.5%)
  • Are still considering their children’s education options (16.9%)

Despite strong parent interest in changing schools, a plurality of parents (45%) said that their children had better experiences this school year than the previous one, while 34.4% said their children’s school experiences were about the same as last year and 20.6% that their children’s experiences were worse.

“Parents want what is best for their children, and even when they are largely satisfied with the education their kids are receiving, they are still looking for learning environments that best fit their children’s interests, talents, needs, and challenges,” said Shelby Doyle, NSCAF’s vice president of public awareness. “As families consider their education options, we encourage them to consider all of the choices available to them, from neighborhood public schools to public charter, magnet, private, online, and homeschooling environments. Newer education models, such as microschooling and pod learning, are also increasingly available.”

Since January, policymakers in eleven states­—Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Utah, Indiana, Montana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Utah—have expanded school choice options for families, and nearly every state now offers some level of educational options for parents to consider for their children. 

Through its charitable programs, NSCAF offers the nation’s largest portfolio of comprehensive, cost-free resources designed to help families navigate their school choice options, including school choice roadmaps for each state. These resources are available in both English (at schoolchoiceweek.com/mystate.) and Spanish (at opcionesescolares.com).

Information and resources for journalists can be found at schoolchoiceawareness.org.

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The National School Choice Awareness Foundation (NSCAF) raises broad and positive awareness of school choice through three charitable programs: National School Choice Week, SCW Navigate, and Conoce tus Opciones Escolares. NSCAF does not advocate for or oppose legislation at any level of government and is steadfastly nonpartisan and nonpolitical.

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