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Charter-school parents far more satisfied than regular-school parents, survey finds

Lawmakers and officials who are holding back the approval or expansion of charter schools in their areas might want to look at a new survey from the opinion and research journal Education Next.

While the parents of private-school students blow them both out of the water, charter-school parents have much higher satisfaction with their schools than regular public-school (“district school”) parents.

Some basic demographic information first: Charter-school parents are less educated, lower earners, more urban and less likely to be homeowners than parents of children in district schools. They are also majority nonwhite, unlike district parents. (District- and private-school parents actually resemble each other more.)

Here are the percentages of parents that are “very satisfied” on a host of metrics:

Teacher quality

Charter: 32
District: 24

School discipline

Charter: 34
District: 17

Expectations for student achievement

Charter: 38
District: 25


Charter: 38
District: 28

Instruction in character or values

Charter: 38
District: 21

Racial and ethnic diversity

Charter: 31
District: 22

District-school parents registered higher satisfaction in only one category: school location.

Other noteworthy findings:

Charter parents are also less likely to perceive serious problems in their children’s schools than are district-school parents. Charter parents report more extensive communications with their children’s schools than parents in the other two sectors, but they also express greater concern about a paucity of extracurricular activities.

Read the full paper, which is based on a “nationally representative sample of 1,519 parents with school-aged children.”

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