May 2, 2005
ANNUAL SURVEY OF PARENTS:
SchoolMatch® ANALYZES WHAT PARENTS WANT IN A SCHOOLThe newly released annual analysis of parents surveyed by SchoolMatch® indicates school selection has become more sophisticated than ever in 2005. According to the most recent summary of data, schooling options such as charter schools, magnet schools, alternative schools, vouchers, dual enrollment in universities and home schooling have given parents more opportunity to decide where their children attend school.
"Many parents now want to shop for a public school just as they do for consumer products," said William L. Bainbridge, President and CEO, SchoolMatch® and Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Dayton.
"Since 1986, we have maintained databases on each of the U.S. public school systems and high schools. In the process of assessing a parent’s preferences, we match them with schools in any part of the country that most reflect those preferences. In our experience with relocating families and corporations, we have come to the conclusion that school policy makers need to do some serious market research regarding the desires of families with school age children. School officials, for example, will often send out literature, that equates ‘best’ with ‘biggest.’ Our surveys rarely indicate that anyone is looking for an extremely large school or school system," he said.
Analysis of parental responses shows that:
- Many parents believe the current " No Child Left Behind" focus on Mathematics and Reading is hurting education in critical thinking skills, citizenship and the arts.
- Family oriented communities appear to be important to parents. Only 2.9 percent look for communities with fewer than average numbers of school-age children.
- Parents have little interest in psychometrics or test analysis. They prefer simple percentile rankings.
- Annual state administered "criterion referenced tests" are not considered as valuable as traditional norm referenced tests, such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), California Achievement Test (CAT); Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS), Metropolitan Achievement Test (MAT) and Stanford Achievement Test (SAT).
- Parents are concerned that more than four moves in a child’s schooling years may damage their education.
- Even though the federal government and states have focused on " standards based education," parents have very little interest in standards.
- A majority of parents (68.3 percent) indicate that "small" or " very small " classes for elementary school-age children are preferable.
- Parents want communities where teacher salaries are competitive, but not necessarily among the highest. On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, 63.7 percent of parents select a four.
- Despite the focus of many state governments on facilities, parents have little interest in expenditures for " bricks and mortar," but are interested in modern technology and computer availability.
SchoolMatch®, an independent, nationwide service, helps families find schools that match the needs of their children. An educational research and database service firm specializing in rating schools (K-12) by using auditable data, SchoolMatch also has conducted more than 1000 Educational Effectiveness Audits of school systems throughout the country and assists corporations with relocation and site selection studies. SchoolMatch maintains information on every public school system throughout the nation. A separate database includes information on more than 14,000 accredited private schools throughout the world. More than seven million parents accessed SchoolMatch services through a variety of website locations including real estate firms, multiple listing services, chambers of commerce, economic development offices, and other family oriented sites, as well as by personally contacting SchoolMatch's Columbus (OH) office in 2004. Parents often learn about the service from their corporate human resource office or through impartial media sources such as NBC's "Today Show," USA Today, Business Week, Good Housekeeping, CNN, Money Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Parents Magazine and local news reports.
For more information, please visit http://schoolmatch.com
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