With evidence demonstrating that private and charter schools achieve better educational outcomes with the same students who were floundering in the nation's public schools--and especially those who attended urban and rural public schools--it's counterintuitive to think that parents would be reluctant to transfer their children into private and charter schools.
Perhaps some of this reluctance is due to the public school propaganda machine, which does all in its power to heighten parental reluctance and has proven itself very effective in doing so. Then, too, there are the public school teachers' unions. While their rhetoric is all about "the children," their policy objective is all about protecting jobs...especially those highly-paid union bosses. And, that's to say nothing about many of the public school bureaucracies, which operate like factories did in the early 1900s.
That said, data indicate that the propaganda machine--the strong current propelling this aircraft carrier forward--continues to lose its strength.
- 75% rate the government's handling of K-12 education as "fair" or "poor" with only 22% rating it as "good" or "excellent";
- 6 of 10 believe the public education system is on the "wrong track"; and,
- 78% of Americans give their local private schools a grade of "A" or "B" with only 45% giving their public schools a grade of "A" or "B."
Given the choice, what would parents do?
- 40% would send their child to a private school;
- 37% to a public school;
- 10% to a charter school; and,
- 11% preferred to homeschool.
For many, the "take away" from this survey might be that an increasing number of parents have expressed interested in exercising choice when it comes to sending their children to the schools they want them to attend. Overall, 50% want to send their children to private and charter schools. Proponents of school choice will surely use this "take away" as the foundation for making talking points on cable television programs.
Important as that finding may be, it misses the more important assertion these data support concerning programs like school vouchers and scholarship tax credits:
- ~67% support these alternatives to finance public education in non-government schools; and
- among low-income, Black and Hispanics support for both is higher.
This finding is astounding. Imagine: Nearly two thirds of those surveyed--a "veto-proof majority"--want school choice! Even more importantly, the numbers are higher among the most those who are most ill-served by public schools.
When it comes to Black and Hispanic parents, the data are clear: The public school bureaucracy is not providing the education they want for their children. It's as if the commanders who are steering the ship of this particular bureaucracy believe they know better than Black and Hispanic parents. "We know your concern. Just leave everything to us and all will be well for your children," they say politiely. And, fueled by taxpayer dollars, they can afford to stay the course.
Some might call such an attitude "patronizing." But, in The Motley Monk's estimation, parental choice in the education of their children is primarily an issue of social justice, rendering that attitude not only patronizing but also condescending. Let there be no doubt about it: The goal is to stymie Black and Hispanic parents in their efforts to provide their children the education they want them to receive.
Yes, the data are clear: The erosion of confidence in the nation's public schools continues. But, that argument has yet to strike a resonant chord with a sufficient number of taxpayers to motivate them to demand that the $$$s fueling public schools be directed where parents want them directed.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the study conducted by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, click on the following link: