Parents as Consumers of Public Education

Bainbridge, William L.; Sundre, Steven M.
December 1990
Education Digest;Dec90, Vol. 56 Issue 4, p41
This article summarizes the findings of a survey on what parents in the U.S. want in public schools, condensed from the book The SchoolMatch Guide to Public Schools, written by the present authors and published in the spring of 1990. In the survey, the present authors find that 53.2 percent of parents say they want a school system in the second-highest range on composite scores on scholastic examinations. Surprisingly, 68.9 percent of parents indicate that the best school for their child would be one that is average to above average in pupil performance on scholarship examinations. Only 30.3 percent say they want their child in the school in the highest range on this test of academic rigor. More parents select instructional expenditures as their highest priority. Analysis of more than 4,000 parental responses also shows the following: 1) a majority of parents indicate that small or very small class sizes for elementary-school-age youngsters are preferable; 2) parents who want school systems where teacher salaries are competitive but not necessarily among the highest; 3) family-oriented communities appear to be important to parents; 4) parents tend to avoid very large or very small public school systems.


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