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Our K-12 education system is a monopoly, and like any other monopoly, the customer (child) suffers from lack of choice and competition. Our children are being held captive in a failing system where markets are not allowed to work. As it turns out, parents, especially moms, know that the key to improving our education system is to allow for market forces to drive innovation and create an enviroment that responds to the needs of children, instead of just propping up the status quo.
In a study just released by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, mothers of school-aged children were asked about education nationwide, education in their communities, and the issue of school choice. The study, Schooling in America, provided some great insight into feelings on traditional education in America, and what they would like to see change.
One key finding is that mothers have more confidence in private schools than in traditional public schools, which is probably why 66% support vouchers and 69% support tax credits for their children to get the best education available. Around the country, about 255,000 students are using vouchers and tax-credits this year. Why are so many mothers seeking other options? Because, as the survey showed, 79% of mothers surveyed gave the federal government’s involvement in education a “fair” or “poor,” while 61% believe that education has “gotten off on the wrong track.”
It’s not simply a matter of “the grass is always greener” for these moms, either. Those who have their children in private schools find that their children are receiving much better educations. 56% of mothers gave their private schools an A or B grade, compared to only 43% for public schools. This is down from 62% only a year ago. As education reform and school choice becomes more mainstream, parents are beginning to realize that they have options, and as they research an seek those out also find that some are better for their children.
Perhaps that’s why most respondents agreed that vouchers should be available to all children regardless of income. “When a school doesn’t work for a child, the public believes that child should have choices, including private schools—no matter what his parents’ income,” said Robert Enlow, President and CEO of the Friedman Foundation. Isn’t that what America is about- equal opportunity for all? America’s mothers certainly seem to think so- and we agree!