ERIC Number: EJ1137683
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Reference Count: N/A
How Satisfied Are Parents with Their Children's Schools? New Evidence from a U.S. Department of Education Survey
Cheng, Albert; Peterson, Paul E.
Education Next, v17 n2 p20-27 Spr 2017
All four sectors in K-12 education compete for the support of their customers--that is, the parents of their prospective students. Those parents have more choices today than in decades past: they may send their children to the public school automatically assigned to them by their school district, or opt for a private school, charter school, or district-run school of choice. These choices include a range of cost and convenience--and, not surprisingly, a range of customer satisfaction levels. The assigned school-district sector has a strong competitive advantage because assigned-district schools are free and universally available, and 76 percent of American students attend them, according to a 2012 survey by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The other three choice sectors do not enjoy those advantages and enroll fewer students. To maintain and enlarge their market share, all schools of choice must satisfy the families who make use of them, who specifically opt out of the free, more convenient assigned-district alternative. So how favorably do parents rate their children's programs? How do the choice sectors compare with one another? With which aspects of schooling are choice parents most satisfied? Do these patterns vary across different segments of the population? This article explores these questions by comparing parental satisfaction ratings for all four sectors: assigned-district schools; private schools; charter schools; and district schools of choice. In 2012, the NCES administered the "Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey" to a nationally representative sample of households with children enrolled in K-12 schools. This survey was conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), and findings were released in 2015 and updated in 2016. Among other topics, parents were asked how satisfied they were with various aspects of the school their child attended, including the school overall, the teachers their child had that year, academic standards, order and discipline, and the way the school staff interacted with parents. Satisfaction levels are the highest among private-school parents, with parents at charter schools and district schools of choice reporting lower, but similar, rates of satisfaction. Among the four sectors, parents of students attending assigned-district schools are the least likely to say they are "very satisfied" with their child's school.
Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education, Parent Attitudes, School Choice, School Districts, Educational Quality, Satisfaction, Private Schools, Public Schools, Charter Schools, National Surveys, Family Characteristics, Institutional Characteristics
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://educationnext.org/journal/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A