New Survey: School’s Out (for Summer) but Switching Is In

As summer draws near and the school year comes to a close, many parents are actively seeking better educational options for their children next year. Across the nation, parents are eager to find learning environments that are more suitable for their children.

In fact, nearly half of all parents have reported that one of their children will be attending a different school in the upcoming year.

Black and Hispanic parents are taking the lead in exploring education options for their children, more so than white parents. Additionally, many young millennial parents (aged 18-29) are rethinking their children’s K-12 education options.

Although many are switching schools, a significant percentage (44.9 percent) of parents expressed satisfaction with their children’s education during the previous academic year. Nonetheless, many parents are still on the hunt to find better fitting educational options for their children. 

These findings are from a survey that took place from May 17-20, 2023 and consisted 14 questions covering parents’ satisfaction and desire to explore education options. Respondents included 2,483 parents with school-aged children.

Key Findings

U.S. parents are more optimistic about their children’s schooling.

Overall, would you say that your child(ren)’s experiences in school over the past school year were better than their experiences last year, about the same, or worse? (N=2,483)

44.9 percent of all parents said that their children had a better experience this year, 34.4 percent said that their children’s experiences were about the same, while 20.5 percent said that their children’s education experiences were worse. 

Over half (55.6 percent) of parents with household incomes over $150,000 said that their children had better experiences, while 35.7 percent of parents with household incomes under $15,000 said the same. 

Parents who reported that their children had a less favorable school experience this year than last year were more inclined to consider enrolling one of their children in a different school (64.2 percent) than parents who had similar experiences this year as compared to last year (31.9 percent) or better experiences this year than last year (48.4 percent).

Almost half of parents will send at least one child to a different school next year.

For the next school year, have you decided to, or are you currently considering, sending any of the children in your household to a school that is different from the one he or she attended this year? (N=2,483)

45.9 percent of all parents are choosing to send their children to a different school, whereas 54.1 percent said that their children would not be switching. 

Among the 45.9 percent of parents who are choosing to send their children to new schools next year, 13.2 percent have already enrolled their children, 8.4 percent have applied and are awaiting a response, 16.9 percent are still considering their choice, and 7.5 percent have made firm plans to switch one or more of their children to homeschooling.

Black, Hispanic, and young millennials are the most likely to find new schools.

18-29 30-44 45-60 > 60 Black or African American Hispanic or Latino White (Non-Hispanic)
Considering new school 49.5% 55.4% 40.8% 47.7% 32.2% 60.2% 52.5% 39.3%
Not considering new school 50.5% 44.6% 59.2% 52.3% 67.8% 39.8% 47.5% 60.7%

Of the 45.9 percent of parents sending their children to new schools next year, 60.6 percent of Black parents and 52.5 percent of Hispanic parents considered new schools for their children compared to 39.3 percent of White parents. 

55.4 percent of parents between the ages of 18-29 stated that their child would attend a different school in the coming year. This is in comparison to 40.8 percent of parents aged 30-44, 47.7 percent of parents aged 45-60, and 32.2 percent of parents over the age of 60.

Parents want better educational environments for their children.

What is the primary reason that you have decided to send, or are considering sending, your child(ren) to a different school next year? (N=1,140)

Among the school-switching parents, more than half (51 percent) want to find better options for their children, 30.5 percent have children transitioning from elementary to middle school or middle to high school, and 18.6 percent are choosing different schools due to relocation.

If you’re looking for information about school options for your family, we recommend checking out our Ultimate Guides and State Guides for each sector. If you are a journalist reporting on education matters, we encourage you to explore our coverage resources.