Low-income and minority parents are good consumers of private schools, capable of holding those schools accountable without mandated testing, said Ben Scafidi, who co-authored a study showing why parents choose private schools.
Scafidi is professor of economics and director of the Economics of Education Policy Center at Georgia College and State University. The study, “More Than Scores: An Analysis of Why and How Parents Choose Private Schools,” was published this month by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.
More than 99 percent of parents said they were much less likely to enroll their children in a school in which they did not receive the information they requested, the study found.
Parents were looking for more than test scores. More than 90 percent said they would ask to tour the school. More than half said they would ask to observe a class, and just less than half said they would ask to meet privately with the head of the school.
“Parent choice creates a marketplace for the purchase of educational services that creates accountability on its own,” said Jim Kelly, study co-author and founder of Georgia’s GOAL Scholarship Program.
The study surveyed parents who participate in the tax-credit scholarship program. Of the 2,685 families, 962 returned the survey.