How parents choose schools

Georgia parents don’t choose private schools for their test scores, concludes More Than Scores, a study of the the state’s tax-credit scholarship program by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

Parents who chose to use the scholarships at private schools cared most about disciplinary policies, learning climate, class sizes, safety and individual attention for their children.

Since 2008, Georgia students have been able to receive scholarships to private schools through nonprofits, which are funded by individual and corporate contributions. Donors get an offsetting state income tax credit.

Only 10.2 percent rated “higher standardized test scores” as one of their top five reasons for choosing a private school. Parents were most concerned about finding a safe, orderly school.

Most popular among respondents were:

“better student discipline” (50.9 percent),

“better learning environment” (50.8 percent),

“smaller class sizes” (48.9 percent),

“improved student safety” (46.8 percent), and

“more individual attention for my child” (39.3 percent).

Low-income parents give top priority to graduation rates and college acceptance rates in deciding on a school.

About Joanne


  1. In other words, public schools are actively pushing out kids, through their own refusal to enforce proper disciplinary policies, including expulsion/alternative placement of chronic offenders. Judges who have allowed/enabled kids with psych or behavioral problems to remain in regular schools/classes also share responsibility. I’m betting that the kids pushed out are more motivated and better behaved, or their parents are, than those who don’t seek to leave. A safe and orderly environment is the first requirement of a good school.

  2. It’s as if education were more than basic math and reading skills. Gosh. Who knew?

  3. Mike in Texas says:

    But . . but . . .but, class size doesn’t matter,

  4. There was a post on this site earlier this week that discussed how hard it was to persuade “good teachers” to go teach in low performing schools, and that school environment was a bigger factor than money.

    So both teachers and parents are putting their money where their mouth is to show how important school environment is, yet we are still faced with virtual anarchy in many of our schools.


    • The politicians who write the laws don’t send their children to the anarchic schools.

      The state tests set a low bar for proficiency. “Higher standardized test scores” are only useful if people respect the test. If your child’s working at or above grade level, are the teachers able to teach him? Or are children just below proficiency more important–and are all the lessons structured to get as many students as possible over a low bar rather than, well, I know it’s old-fashioned of me, but, ah, educate all the students who are required to be present?