Parents across the country aren’t just fighting to change public education; many are leaving it entirely.
The numbers: Polling from nonpartisan policy group Education Next found that public school enrollment in the U.S. has dropped 4 percent since 2020. Nearly 2 million students have moved to charter schools, private schools, or homeschooling, leaving 77 percent of students in public schools.
Lack of trust drives the trend: Only 28 percent of Americans have “a great deal” of confidence in public schools, a July poll showed. Republicans have the least confidence at 14 percent, while 50 percent have “little to no faith” in public schools.
Politicians are addressing the lack of trust in two ways:
- Promoting alternatives to public schools: Multiple red states have increased funding to help parents choose alternative schooling, referred to as school choice. Arizona is leading the way.
- Fighting woke ideology in schools: Since 2020, Republicans in several states have capitalized on parental rights issues in education, especially shutting down radical progressive curricula. Florida Gov. Ron Desantis’ legislative record has made him the most prominent leader against woke ideology in schools.
Big picture: Despite condemnation from leftist politicians and mainstream media, many families are dissatisfied with public education. Conservative politicians are attempting to address those concerns with solutions.