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2023 Parent Poll: Insights #1

Parents want more public school options in Houston

Parents play a crucial role in shaping their child’s educational journey, all while striving to provide them with the best opportunities for learning and growth. However, in Houston, a growing number of parents expressed dissatisfaction with current public school options. 

Good Reason Houston partnered with Wakefield Research, an independent third-party research firm, to conduct a survey in March of 1,500 parents across Houston public schools to understand parent perceptions of public education, and their needs are evident. The population of parents we surveyed is representative of the demographics of the families we serve.

Since 2019, there has been a significant decline in the number of parents who believe they have access to multiple good public schools. Only 21% of parents now completely agree that there are multiple good options available, marking a 13% decrease from 2019.

Drop in satisfaction over time, especially with charter schools

There has also been a small decrease in Houston parents’ satisfaction with the quality of their child’s school overall, but the decline has been especially significant among parents who have chosen charter schools.

Over the past four years, charter school parents’ satisfaction with their child’s school dropped by 18 percentage points. 

Even with this decline, though, a solid majority–63%–of parents overall were very or completely satisfied with the quality of their child’s school. 

Parents expressed low satisfaction with school system leadership compared to their views of their child’s school as a whole.

The majority of Houston-area districts have experienced a decline in satisfaction levels since 2019, with the exception of a few smaller districts. 

The need for more preparation in the future

Parents are increasingly recognizing the importance of preparing their children for the challenges of the future and want their children to develop the skills necessary to thrive in today’s world. However, many parents feel that the current public school options in Houston are falling short in providing adequate preparation for the future. 

Houston parents expressed a desire for their child to have access to schools that offer early college and college credit earning, specialized programs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), arts and humanities, career and technical education, language immersion, and leadership development. 

Limited access to high-quality education

Nearly 80% of parents do not feel they have access to multiple good public school options to choose from.

Among the parents who do not agree there are multiple good public schools available to them, many expressed facing challenges related to lack of proximity or transportation to good school options, as well as lack of familiarity with their options. Others encountered challenges due to complex enrollment processes or language barriers.

Conclusion

While most parents expressed satisfaction with their child’s public school, more can be done to alleviate frustration with the public school system overall, especially related to district/charter network leadership and access to more public school options. 

Our second and third analysis from the 2023 Parent Poll will be available next week. Check back for a link to learn more about parent opinions on public education in Houston.

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