Author(s): Benjamin Scafidi, Jim Kelly
This report uses the results of a survey administered to Georgia parents of K–12 private school scholarship recipients to address three questions:
In choosing the private school education best suited for the overall needs of their children, do parents primarily focus on the results from standardized tests administered to students attending
the school or do they rely on a variety of factors, including student safety, class size, classroom discipline, religious education, high school completion and post-secondary success, and a greater
sense of community?
To enable parents to make informed choices regarding the education of their children, what information should private schools provide to them and to the community at large?
If state and local governments empowered parents to educate their children in the public or private schools of their choice, and parents were able to secure relevant information relating to
those choices, would a more efficient “spontaneous education order” arise?
We address those questions in light of the following:
Frustrated by the failure of many local public school districts to educate their students adequately, parents, politicians, and policymakers are considering alternative systems for the delivery
of K–12 education in America.
American youth, their parents, and educators are facing a wide range of social and cultural challenges that add great complexity and uncertainty to the K–12 education mission.
The implementation of K–12 school choice programs (e.g., tax-credit scholarships and vouchers) in many states is producing a large number of parents who, for a variety of reasons, have
transferred their children from public to private schools.
In 2013, Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program, Inc. (GOAL), a tax-exempt, nonprofit student scholarship organization operating under Georgia’s Education Expense Credit (i.e., tax-credit scholarship)
law, asked the parents of scholarship recipients to complete a survey pertaining to the reasons they chose a private school for their children and the information about private schools that they deem
important to the school selection process.
The results of the surveys completed by 754 GOAL parents indicate they have a variety of reasons for transferring their children from public schools to private schools and that they rely on a
wide variety of information in evaluating prospective private schools.