School’s out for the summer, and switching schools is in

As students leave the classroom for the summer, families are considering leaving their children’s previous learning environment altogether.

Almost half of parents (45.9 percent) nationwide have reported that at least one of their children will be attending a different school in the upcoming year, according to findings from the National School Choice Awareness Foundation’s May 2023 survey of 2,483 U.S. parents with school-aged children.

While a significant percentage of parents (44.9 percent) said they were satisfied with their children’s education during the previous academic year, “many parents are still on the hunt to find better fitting educational options for their children,” continues the National School Choice Awareness Foundation. Among the school-switching parents, more than half (51 percent) are changing education environments to find a “better, safer, higher quality, or more affordable/convenient/customized education” for their children.

Black, Hispanic, and young millennial parents are the most likely to rethink their children’s K-12 education options and explore alternatives.

Majorities of Black parents (60.6%) and Hispanic parents (52.5%) indicated that at least one of their children would go to a different school next year. Comparatively, 39.3% of white parents said they had a child who would be attending a different school next year. Parents between the ages of 18 and 29 were also most likely to say that one of their children would attend a different school next year (55.4%), compared to 40.8% of parents aged 30–44, 47.7% of parents aged 45–60 and 32.2% of parents over 60.

Given that enrollment in Minnesota’s government schools has dropped for three consecutive years now, and private school and charter school enrollment have increased, it would appear our state’s families are also switching up the learning environment their children attend. The next step is to ensure such an opportunity is made available to all Minnesota students.