Editor’s note: This analysis appeared Monday on the74million.org.
Black parents say they play a much more active role in their children’s education than they did before the pandemic, according to a new poll released this month. Large majorities look favorably on policies like private school vouchers and education savings accounts, and comparatively few want the K-12 experience to remain the same.
The results come from a survey of African American parents of school-aged children conducted by the research and polling company Morning Consult. Its findings, while capturing only a moment in time, may reflect educational preferences that have shifted significantly away from traditional public schools in the COVID era.
Morning Consult’s survey was administered to roughly 1,300 respondents across January and February on behalf of EdChoice, an Indianapolis-based advocacy group that backs school choice. During the pandemic, the organization has maintained tracking polls of parents and teachers on general perceptions of K–12 education. Black adults, including parents, have been included both in those ongoing efforts and in separate surveys as districts adjusted to the demands of remote instruction and virus mitigation.
Overall, 57% of respondents said they supported education savings accounts — a financial vehicle that offers families money to spend on educational costs of their choosing — even without being provided a description of their function. Even higher proportions supported school vouchers (62%), open enrollment of public schools (66%), and charter schools (68%).
Paul DiPerna, EdChoice’s vice president of research and innovation, said he found it notable that families’ attitudes toward such policies have remained “fairly stable” even as the circumstances surrounding schools have changed dramatically. In a similar poll conducted in the fall of 2021, for example, two-thirds of African American parents said that COVID had made them more open to the idea of homeschooling; 65% said they were supportive of homeschooling today.
“At the time [of the previous poll], the pandemic looked a lot different for parents and schools,” DiPerna said, invoking the Omicron wave that closed or severely disrupted schools in early 2022. “But some of these levels of support are still high for other modes of learning besides the traditional district school.”
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