Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New Poll Demonstrates Parents Want School Choice

Only 11% of Nevada residents would send their children to traditional government-run schools if they were able to choose any educational option according to a new survey done by the Nevada Public Research Institute and the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Nearly half (48%) would choose a private school, 23% would choose a government charter school, 15% would choose independent homeschooling, and 3% would choose a cyberschool.

NPRI Communications Director Andy Matthews said the poll results demonstrate that the state's government-run schools are not meeting people's needs:

"It is clear that Nevadans are doubtful of the effectiveness of our monolithic public education system and want more choice when it comes to how their children are educated."

The most common reason given in the poll for preferring an alternative to a traditional government-run school was academic quality (33%), followed by school curriculum (25%), extracurricular activities (13%), and safety/discipline (11%).

These results show just how far apart parents' desired educational options and their actual ones are. According to data from the 2006 American Community Survey, only 5% of Nevada's K-12 students attend private schools and fewer than 1% are homeschooled. The Heritage Foundation put the percent of students attending charter schools in 2005 at roughly 1.2%. So while nearly 9 in 10 Nevada residents would want their children educated somewhere other than a traditional government-run school, only roughly 1 in 13 are able to do so at the current time.

It's time to end the near-monopoly traditional government-run schools have over K-12 education in this country and allow *ALL* parents (not just wealthy ones) to choose the option they feel is best for their children.

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