5 Ways Parents Showed Up for Education in 2022

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Parent and child smiling and holding signs

If there’s one thing we should take away from 2022, it is the power of parents. For far too long many parents have been side-lined in public education. Then the pandemic forced them to experience their kid’s education up-close and firsthand, and now they’re more involved than ever before.  

Another thing we’ve learned is that parents want more options in public education—and that includes charter schools. They’ve made their views on the subject clear over and over again. Now it seems politicians might be finally paying attention. They can’t afford not to listen anymore. 

Here are five ways parents showed up on education and charter schools in 2022: 

1. Parents Raised Their Voices in Support of Charter Schools in Washington, DC 

When the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed changes to the Charter Schools Program rules threatened charter schools across the country, parents took action. In just a few weeks, parent organizations rallied together and brought 1,000 parents to Washington, D.C., to raise their voices against the proposed change.  

Their voices were heard by those in power. As a result of the protest, the U.S. Department of Education responded with a series of tweets walking back their initial stance. Then, when the rules were finally released in mid-summer, many of the suggested changes were removed or dialed back.  

Our takeaway? Parent voices are powerful. Take a look at the video recapping the day and listen to what they have to say on education: 

2. Pre-election Polling Explored How Parents Feel About Education—And How It Would Affect Their Vote 

In a survey of more than 5,000 parents conducted by The Harris Poll in May 2022, parents weighed in on what they want in education. Parents overwhelmingly reported that they agreed one size doesn’t fit all in education (93%) and more than one in four parents reported switching the type of school their children attend.  

The findings also led to the question, Is the Education Voter the New Swing Voter? When it came to how those beliefs would affect their vote, 82% of parents said they would be willing to vote outside their political party based on the candidate’s education platform. And more than four in five agreed that education has become a more important political issue to them than it was in the past.  

Other key takeaways from the survey: 

  • Seventy-four percent of parents would consider sending their child to a public charter school if one were available in their area.   
  • Even among those who might not choose a charter school for their child, 84% agree that charter schools should be available to families who would choose them.   

     

3. Election Day Outcomes Showed Parents Prioritized Education with Their Vote 

When it came to election day, our eyes were all on parents. Would their beliefs on education shape their vote? The answer was “yes.” 

Education played a significant role in the 2022 election cycle in America. Parents were shown to be a key voting bloc and many candidates who listened to parents and ran on support for more public education options won their seats in state and federal races.  

We look forward to seeing how this impacts education and charter school policies in 2023. Parents will be watching, too. 

4. Post-election Polling Found Voters and Parents Will Continue to Make K-12 Education a Priority  

A recent national survey of 1,200 actual 2022 voters conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Impact found that 72% of voters say “improving K-12 education” should be a top priority for state lawmakers

Let that sink in.  

Also of note, both parties struggle among voters when it comes to education with only 45% of voters saying they trust the Republican Party or the Democratic Party on K-12 education issues. And nearly 33% of independent voters say they trust neither. 

A few other key findings from the survey: 

  • Parent voters in particular are pessimistic about the direction of public schools in their state (60%) 

     

  • By a 64% to 34% margin, voters agree “Parents should have more control than they do right now over what their children are being taught in public schools.” 

     

5. Parents Continued Voting With Their Feet  

As a follow up to our 2021 report that showed parents were voting with their feet when it comes to education, the National Alliance conducted an analysis on public school enrollment trends over the course of the pandemic—the 2019-20 school year to the 2021-22 school year. The updated analysis found that, now that families have made the choice to explore options outside of district schools, they are continuing to choose other educational settings for their kids. This ultimately resulted in a decrease of 1.5 million students in district schools and an increase of 240,000 students at charter schools. 

For the biggest takeaways, watch our explainer video:  

All this to say, parents are making their feelings on education clear. And it’s time we all listened.  

  

Melinda Tolliver is the director of digital strategy at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. 

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