Michigan Parents Satisfied with Education Choice

New study looks at the factors driving increased school choice

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Ben DeGrow
Director of Education Policy
(989) 698-1941

Midland — A new survey from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy shows Michigan parents who use school choice are very happy with the results.

The Center polled a diverse group of 837 parents using school choice from across the state earlier this year and published the results in a new report titled “A Survey of Michigan Parents Who Use School Choice.” Some parents surveyed sent their children to a public charter school, while others used Schools of Choice to enroll in a traditional public school other than the one assigned to them by their home address.

The results showed a population that is much more satisfied with their children’s education than the average Michigan parent. A full 80 percent of parents surveyed rated their child’s school an A or B, compared to only 60 percent of the general population.

“Parents want the best for their children,” said Ben DeGrow, author of the study. “Nearly one in four public school students in Michigan are using some form of school choice, and the data we’ve collected shows that the vast majority of their parents are pleased with the results.”

Over 60 percent of surveyed parents said they would recommend school choice to other parents, while 65 percent said that using choice had increased their academic expectations for their children. But their specific reasons for selecting a new school varied: 38 percent said that an academic program or teaching philosophy was the deciding factor; 30 percent said they made the decision based on academic performance and test scores. For 10 percent of parents, the biggest reason for using choice was safety and disciplinary concerns.

The survey also showed the diversity of families using choice. Respondents came from 106 school districts — urban, suburban and rural, across the state. Roughly one-quarter were African-American and about the same proportion had a household annual income under $25,000.

“The survey shows that school choice isn’t just for affluent families or inner cities,” says DeGrow. “It’s happening statewide for diverse reasons, but overall parents are happy with it.”

To see the full survey results and read the study, go to http://www.mackinac.org/s2017-06. A panel discussion on the survey takes place at noon on Sept. 14 in Lansing and will be livestreamed online here: http://www.mackinac.org/EVT091417.

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