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Students Become the Teachers: Opinions and Perspectives on K-12 Education in 2023

How do Adults 18+ and Parents of K-12 Students Compare and Contrast on Education Today? Do they yearn to go back in time, travel back to the future, or keep rolling along, all systems go, toward new developments in K-12 Education?


In 1985, leveraging the power of a DeLorean, Doc Brown and Marty McFly traveled back to 1955, to Hill Valley High School, and Marty was surrounded by high school through the eyes of his parents. From 1955 Hill Valley to 1985 Hill Valley to all of the cities, towns, valleys and beyond in 2024, times have changed in many ways but have remained stable in others. Dress code, expressions, taste in music and favorite movies have evolved, but we still care about our children’s education.


EdChoice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to understanding and pursuing a K–12 education system that empowers every family to choose the schooling environment that fits their children’s needs best. EdChoice and its legacy – pioneered by Milton and Rose D. Friedman – rest upon three pillars: 1) Research and Thought Leadership; 2) Training and Outreach; 3) and Policy and Advocacy.


It is this combined legacy of research, thought leadership and advocacy that is reflected in the annual, “Schooling in America (SIA) Survey” that EdChoice conducted with Braun Research for the eleventh time, in 2023. The purpose and research issues at hand were, at a blue-sky level, to understand the opinions and perspectives of both the general public writ large as well as parents of school-age children. Most specifically, we wanted to know what respondents think about K-12 education in the United States.


Each year we conduct this study – an essential microcosmic look at K-12 education –, we strive to trend similar questions so that we understand the change (or not) from year over year. However, we add or remove questions according to the climatic change of political, social, economic, cultural and K-12 educational dynamics at the time. During and since the Pandemic years, it has become increasingly expedient to measure new trends and absorb the ‘new normal’ amongst school types by painting a portrait of K-12 education and specific colors in the landscape. We typically collect data pertaining to various issues of importance to the respondent, cost per child to attend public school, and, amongst parents, reasons parents place their children in different types of schools (e.g., public, private, homeschool, charter). In the 2023 survey we asked questions around school safety, preferred school and class size, and school switching.


In order to assess all of these areas and produce helpful data outcomes that EdChoice could use to help colorize the public’s opinions on K-12 education. Research was responsible for data collection of a survey instrument (designed by EdChoice). The fielding took place from April 18, 2023, to May 2, 2023. We obtained a total of N=1,224 Adults 18+ in our General Population poll, and a total of 1,504 Parents of K-12 school-children. Each of these samples was nationally-representative. Each of these groups was fielded using a mixed methodological approach (telephone and online). We also realized sub-samples of African-American Parents (n=421) and Hispanic Parents (n=426) in our research.


Upon conclusion of fielding, we ran cross-tabulations, produced data files, and created summary as well as methodological reports and dispositions that EdChoice utilized in their own reporting and release of study data. Data outcomes relate to:


  • K-12 education and its direction for the future;

  • Degree of satisfaction with children’s respective experiences in schools;

  • Grading systems (similar to a ‘pass/fail’ and anything in between) of local schools;

  • Estimates of school and class sizes;

  • Reasons for school choice;

  • School safety;

  • Funding of schools and estimates of how much is required per child;

  • School-switching;

  • Gradations of support for school choice;

  • Educational policies (e.g., vouchers, ESAs, etc.); and

  • Health levels and characterization of schools


Where do all roads lead?


"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads," exclaimed Dr Emmett Brown from ‘Back to the Future.’


We might not yet be road-free, but we still travel them to get from Point A to Point B. And we certainly have the metaphorical and fictional roads (e.g., ‘all roads paved with…,’ ‘Yellow-Brick Road,’ etc.). And we have roads that our children travel from the time they are young through college and beyond as they navigate the straightaways and exits of school. It will certainly be up to our youth to help guide the way. Even once we are road-free, the path of learning is always open, infinitely ahead of us.


For more details please see this link that highlights the EdChoice report [link here] focused on top findings that emerged from the 2023 National Schooling in America (SIA) Survey.

Author: Cynthia Miller, M.B.A., Braun Research

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