Springtime is lovely: the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and education freedom is in the air. Spring represents a period of change or transition as we move out of the winter months and prepare for new growth and life. Just as this season is a period of transition in the natural world, it is also a season of change for families in the education world. Oftentimes, spring prompts parents to evaluate and prepare for their child’s educational experience in the upcoming school year. 

Parents awoke to the gross failure of public education after they witnessed prolonged union-backed school closures, devastating learning loss, plunging academic scores, misused COVID relief funds, chronic absenteeism, and ideological indoctrination in the classroom (just to name a few examples.)

A January 2024 poll of 2,595 U.S. parents revealed that 72% of parents considered new schools for their children last year. That is a 35% increase since 2022. Thankfully, educational options such as classical education programs, private schools, microschools, hybrid schools, and homeschooling are more widely available, empowering parents to find the education that best suits their children. 

So what are parents looking for as they prepare for school in the fall?

According to a 2024 poll from EdChoice, parents place a high value on learning core academic subjects. According to the poll, the main purpose of education during kindergarten through 8th grade should be learning subjects such as math and reading. Over half of parents (56%) answered that learning core subjects was extremely important and 31% said core subjects were very important to learn. Similarly, when asked about the main purpose of education during high school, 48% of respondents said learning core academic subjects was extremely important and 35% said very important. Contrast this with the 19% of all K-12 parents who believe that fixing social problems in school is extremely important. 

Additional research from EdChoice demonstrates that 79% of parents would send their child to a school “with a strong academic reputation if [they] knew that it had few other students of their race or ethnicity.” More than half of parents (55%) strongly agree that teachers should keep their political beliefs to themselves. It is no surprise that parents want the ability to choose schools that prioritize academics. 

Parents also highly value safe learning environments for their children. Unfortunately, many public schools are not conducive to learning because they are wracked with violence. Videos of violence in school seem to circulate on the internet frequently. According to EdChoice, 31% of school parents have heard about or seen at least one violent incident at their child’s school. A horrific attack, where two kids repeatedly kicked and stomped another student’s head, happened at my former high school recently. 

Although “only a third (33%) of Americans feel that things are going in the right direction in their local school district, and a slim 22% are optimistic about education at the national level,” school choice brings hope and optimism to parents. With education freedom and school choice options, parents can find the educational experience that best suits their children’s needs. States like Georgia, Alabama, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Utah have expanded school choice opportunities and funding this year, so more students and families can thrive. 

Parents want education freedom, and now is the time to spring into action.