A new report reveals how powerfully the pandemic has shaped views on K-12 education and voting among parents. “Never Going Back,” released today by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, includes polling data from over 5,000 parents of school-age children. Post-pandemic, parents are highly invested in education. They’re also motivated to support the political candidates who most closely represent their views. In fact, more than 8 in 10 say they’d vote outside their party, if warranted. (Read the Alliance’s press release.)
What else? The pandemic has reconfigured key sentiments about education in addition to school enrollments. Key report findings are below.
Politically, education is rising in importance
Parents care a great deal about education as a political issue, the Alliance report found.
- Candidates’ views on education have the capacity to sway parent voters. 82% of parents are willing to vote outside their party if a candidate’s views on education align with their own.
- Education is growing in importance as a political issue. 83% of parents view education as more important now.
- For committed parent voters, education is ascendant. Among issues, only taxes topped education for parents who vote in both federal and state/local elections.
Most parents support choice and charter schools
School choice and public charter schools are popular among parents. In fact, even parents who don’t choose charter schools for their children want other parents to have that choice.
- Support for educational choice is high. 86% of parents want options for their children other than the local district school.
- Parents favor the growth of public charter schools. 77% want more local charter schools. Moreover, 81% support expanding seats in existing local charter schools.
- Charter schools have earned credibility with non-charter parents. “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,” the report notes.
The pandemic introduced powerful changes in parents’ views on education
Parents have become more engaged in their child’s education. In addition, they’re more interested.
- Parent engagement is ticking up. 78% of parents “became more involved in their child’s education because of what they saw during the pandemic,” the Alliance said.
- Interest in education is also increasing. 79% of parents became more interested in their child’s education because of the pandemic.
- Safety is top of mind. In fact, safety is even more important to parents than school quality. 77% of parents said school safety was “absolutely essential.” Moreover, 59% said school safety grew in importance to them during the pandemic.
Lindalyn Kakadelis, the executive director of the Coalition, said, “This report tells us parents want and deserve options for their children’s schooling, and they’re willing to vote across party lines to get it. Public charter schools remain wildly popular as a free, public alternative to traditional zoned schools that are open to everybody.”
Access the Coalition’s press release.