New Report Shows Georgia Parents More Engaged Than Ever in Education, and “Never Going Back”
Tuesday, August 30th, 2022
In a new report, Never Going Back: An Analysis of Parent Sentiment on Education, from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and The Harris Poll, more than 8 out of 10 Georgia parents (83%) who were surveyed agree that education has become a more important political issue to them than it was in the past. In addition, 86% percent of Georgia parents say they would be willing to vote for someone outside of their political party if the candidate’s education platform aligned with their views.
“Like other states across the nation, Georgia parents are increasingly identifying education as a significant political issue.” said Tony Roberts, President and CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association. “Families want educational options, and the demand for public charter schools is higher in our state than the national average—with more than 80% of parents saying they would consider sending their child to a public charter school if one were available in their area.”
The report indicates that parents like and want the freedom to choose the best education option for their children. This is true across all races, political ideologies, and geographies. The pandemic afforded parents an unprecedented and up-close look at how their children were being educated, and—in many cases—they determined that having more than one educational option was and is essential.
The report examines results from a survey of more than 5,000 parents nationwide conducted by The Harris Poll in May 2022. Survey results provide deep insights into how parents feel about education, whether and why they’ve made any changes in how their school-aged children are educated, how their views have changed over the past two years, and the likelihood of their voting decisions being influenced by views on education.
Major takeaways from Georgia:
-Georgia parents want options—93% say that one size doesn’t fit all in education.
-Demand and support for charter schools are higher than national averages.
88% percent of parents want more public charter school offerings in their area.
83% of parents say they would consider sending their child to a public charter school if one were available in their area.
89% of those who might not choose a charter school for their child agree that charter schools should be available to families who would choose them.
86% percent of parents support expanding the number of slots in existing public charter schools in their area.
-Safety is a top priority.
82% said safety is absolutely essential when it comes to their child’s education. That’s compared to the next highest priority, quality instruction, which was crucial to 6 in 10 Georgia parents.
Major takeaways from parents nationwide:
-Parents value choice—93% agree one size doesn’t fit all in education. More than 1 in 4 parents are school-type switchers and 86% of all parents surveyed want options for their children other than the district school they are zoned for or assigned to attend.
-Charter schools are a popular choice among parents who switched the type of school their children attend.
Before the pandemic, charter schools were the most popular among school switchers; since the pandemic, charter schools have dropped to the second most popular choice, preceded by homeschooling.
Parents who chose to send their children to public charter schools report that they did so because charter schools exhibited characteristics of higher quality instruction (54%), smaller school, and class sizes (47%), and better safety (47%).
-Safety is a #1 priority.
Seventy-seven percent of parents said safety was absolutely essential when it comes to their child’s education. By contrast, only 58% of parents cited quality of instruction as absolutely essential.
-Parents who switched school types are happy with the choices they made.
Eighty-nine percent of parents whose children have switched school types report that they or their child experienced a positive change as a result of the switch—namely that their child is happier (57%).
-More than 4 in 5 parents (83%) agree that education has become a more important political issue to them than it was in the past.
Eighty-two percent of parents would be willing to vote outside their political party based on the candidate’s education platform.
For parents who vote in both federal and state/local elections, education is the second most important issue—second only to taxes.
-Support for charter schools is high.
Seventy-four percent of parents would consider sending their child to a public charter school if one were available in their area.
Even among those who might not choose a charter school for their child, 84% agree that charter schools should be available to families who would choose them.
Seventy-seven percent of parents want more public charter school offerings in their area. This is consistent across political affiliations.
Eighty-one percent of parents support expanding the number of slots in existing public charter schools in their area.
“Parents are a powerful voting bloc in our country; and those currently serving or seeking political office would do well to listen to them. This report shows education has increased dramatically in importance as a voting issue to parents,” said Nina Rees, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “Education has often taken a back seat as a priority issue in elections, but it appears this is no longer the case, and rightfully so.”
The National Alliance commissioned this poll as a follow up to the 2021 report,Voting with Their Feet: A State-level Analysis of Public Charter School and District Public School Enrollment Trends, which found that at least 1.4 million students left their district public schools during the first full year of the pandemic. Never Going Back answers questions about the movement and motivations of parents who switched schools during and prior to the pandemic.