Parents and students are the most important individuals involved in school choice.
Thousands of families, and more than 20,000 students, benefit from tax-supported choice programs in Florida, Cleveland, and Milwaukee. Tens of thousands of other parents throughout the country use privately financed vouchers to choose the school that their children attend.
Most students in school choice programs are from low-income families. The majority are African American and Hispanic.
School choice has had a powerful impact on these families. A wide range of studies document high levels of parent satisfaction and involvement. For example, assessing the Milwaukee program, Education Week said it “has deeply involved long-alienated parents in their children’s schooling…a powerful retort to educators who have long suggested that parents burdened by social and economic problems could devote but minimal attention to educational issues.”
School choice families are part of a diverse coalition of strange bedfellows. It reflects a cross-section of political, economic, racial, and ethnic groups. The coalition includes nonpartisan, Democratic, and Republican elected officials, community activists from a wide range of interests, employers seeking qualified workers, public and private educators, and thousands of individual citizens.
While no family is typical, a compelling picture of school choice emerges from individual stories of families currently participating in school choice programs.