A new market-research survey finds that many K-12 parents focus on a solid core curriculum but would like more choices in schools that have a different preferences for school culture and emphasis.
The survey of more than 2,000 parents distinguished tribes who prefer particular education styles. The largest, labeled “pragmatists,” constituted the 36 percent who want vocational education. These tend to have lower incomes and be parents of boys. “Jeffersonians,” the second largest at 24 percent, want education aimed at civics and leadership. Twenty-three percent of parents prize high test scores. Other categories include “multiculturalists,” parents who prize arts instruction, and others who seek elite college acceptance.
These findings reinforce 20 years of similar polls, and show governments don’t need to enforce one course of study for all children, said the Cato Institute’s Andrew Coulson.
“For those who want to believe that the state must control what goes on in classrooms, no amount of evidence will ever convince them otherwise,” Coulson commented on Cato’s blog. “But for the rest of the population, Fordham’s study will go a long way toward showing that efforts like ‘Common Core’ are, at best, superfluous.”