GOAL Scholarship Parents Appear to be Active Consumers of Private Schools

Just a warning, I’m definitely going to wonk out on this one. A new study by the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice (www.edchoice.org/morethanscores ) surveyed over 700 Georgia parents who received GOAL Scholarships and moved their child from a public to a private school.  GOAL is the largest student scholarship organization in Georgia and was created under the Georgia K-12 tuition tax credit scholarship program. Taxpayers are allowed to donate a grand total of $58 million per year (less than 1 percent of all K-12 spending in Georgia) to student scholarship organizations that provide scholarships to families with children in grades K-12.

There are some pretty interesting findings in the study.

  •  98.6 percent of GOAL scholarship parents are “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their decision to send their child to a private school—relative to their satisfaction with their former public school.
  • These low and middle income parents expressed a wide variety of reasons for choosing a private school.  The most important reasons were: “better student discipline” (50.9 percent); “better learning environment” (50.8 percent); “smaller class sizes” (48.9 percent); “improved student safety” (46.8 percent); and “more individual attention for my child” (39.3 percent).
  • Only 10.2 percent rated “higher standardized test scores” as one of their top five reasons for choosing a private school.  Parents care more about high school graduation and success in college.
  • No parents rated “higher standardized test scores” as their most important reason for choosing a private school.
  • Perhaps the severe academic, social and cultural challenges facing many American youth today are why so many parents care more about safety and order rather than standardized test scores.
  •  Low income parents are willing to take several time consuming steps to obtain information about private schools.
  • 79 percent of parents said that if a private school declined to provide them with information they desire that it ‘would’ impact their school choice decision; another 20 percent said that it ‘might’ impact their decision.

From the information in this study, it would seem to me, that the General Assembly should let private schools be private schools and let parents choose them if they want to.  It seems like low and middle income parents do a fine job holding private schools accountable for educating their students well.

With so many horror stories about APS and others, this seems to be a viable way to break the poverty cycle. As well as get more knowledgeable and capable students into college and into our workforce. Which, when it comes down to it, we should care more about what is best for the child than what is best for currently entrenched interests.

The report concludes that (using their language) crowd-sourcing and other tools to give parents information (like www.greatschools.org ) should arise from civil society under a “spontaneous education order”.  By allowing more parental choice in education, the Georgia General Assembly will allow the creation of this spontaneous education order.

25 comments

  1. Tina Trent says:

    Interesting study. I have to admit that, much as I am dismayed by public schools, I’m not a cheerleader automatically for school choice because far too many of these institutions replicate the unaccountability of public education while preventing those footing the bills (taxpayers) from performing oversight, financial and academic. So long as it’s still coming out of my family’s pocket, and I have no say about that, I want as much oversight and access as I get with the current system.

    I especially don’t like it when deep-pocketed national nonprofits and foundations bang the school-choice drum for other political purposes, as some do, while ignoring issues that will affect every single citizen in the public schools.

    However, this is an interesting study by the Friedman foundation. It’s useful to know that all the sturm and drang about sapping funding from public schools is over a mere 1% of state school dollars.

    • Joshua Morris says:

      Parents who make the effort to send children to private schools in search of better educational results do their own oversight. They don’t need bureaucrats (not really the taxpayers) overseeing their school. The bureaucratic oversight is a large part of the problem with public schools. Further, private schools I have been in and around offer much greater openness and access to parents regarding what is happening inside the school walls than public schools do.

      Results tell the story. There are always exceptions to the rule, but typically, private schools produce a better educational product for far less money than public systems. Otherwise, parents wouldn’t be making efforts to put students in them.

      • John Konop says:

        ……….. private schools produce a better educational product for far less money than public systems………..call Walton……

        Once again depends on the schools……..

        A top private school cost about 16 to 20k a year for high school. I paid years ago about 12k for elementary…..

        In my county Cherokee ie similar to North Fulton, N,E,W Cobb…..The AP and advance programs yield similar results for way less…….A top private school is not a bargain, check out prices…..

        The AP students from son’s class in Cherokee county have more than 50% of the students getting straight a’s at GT.

          • John Konop says:

            I said top private schools trust me, my wife and I paid the bill! You understand every time you BS the numbers you hurt your argument? You play this game all the time here….Why not truthfully make your point? Btw the top school in metro Atlanta are very similar my wife and I check them out years ago…..BTW prices went up at the lower levels since my wife and I paid…….

            …………Lower School $17,390.00
            Middle School $19,190.00
            Upper School $19,190.00……..

            http://www.thewalkerschool.org/admission/tuition-and-financial-aid/index.aspx

            http://www.thewalkerschool.org/admission/tuition-and-financial-aid/index.aspx

            • mpierce says:

              I am not BSing the numbers. They came from U.S. Department of Education. Some people actually consider that a reputable source.

              Your cherry-picked examples have little to do with Joshua’s comment about private vs public schools “on a macro”. Perhaps you should re-read the thread to see who is playing games to avoid the truth.

              Yes, I know Walker is expensive. About averages, if there is a school more expensive than the average, than there is a school somewhere else cheaper.

              • John Konop says:

                Below would be many of the TOP tier list of private schools in metro Atlanta. You can BS people who do not know……Trust me anyone who has shopped the top schools knows the PRICE! I am basing this on performance of the school not how I FEEL about the school. I am sure you will spin more BS…..

                Atlanta International School Atlanta Fulton K4-12 None $19,080-21,780

                Brandon Hall School Atlanta Fulton 6-12 None $26,095-54,995

                Katherine & Jacob Greenfield Hebrew Academy Atlanta Fulton Infants-8th Jewish $13,169-25,974

                Marist School Atlanta Dekalb 7-12 Catholic $16,300

                Pace Academy Atlanta Fulton Pre1st-12 None $19,600-22,570

                Paideia School Atlanta Dekalb PK-12 None $11,346-20,448

                Saint Francis High School Alpharetta Fulton 9-12 None $16,500-17,250

                The Lovett School Atlanta Fulton K-12 None $18,470-22,020

                The Westminster Schools Atlanta Fulton Pre1st-12 Christian Non-D $19,205-22,270

                Woodward Academy North Johns Creek Fulton PK-6 None $10,000-21,950

                Wesleyan School Norcross Gwinnett K-12 Christian Non-D $14,900-19,965

                Whitefield Academy Mableton Cobb PK4 to 12 Christian Non-D $9,920-$19,800

                • Joshua Morris says:

                  Why do you insist on limiting the discussion to these ‘top’ private schools? There are myriad private schools of all sizes in this state, and the tution level does not necessarily correlate to the educational product. I have been around small private schools whose tuition was <$5k/yr, and their results were as good as any high school in the state. The quality of a child's education is dependent only on parental involvement and the job performance of the teacher.

                    • mpierce says:

                      In other words you want to ignore the point that you originally replied to. And somehow doing that twice makes it more relevant?

                      You could have just as easily compared Crim High School (or another low-performing APS school) to Marist as they cost the about same.

                    • John Konop says:

                      My original pont that your math war wrong you admitted. Second my other point is you cannot use a one size fit all statement about private schools and public schools it all depends on area……Finally once again your math is wrong on this second point. As you see you cannot just take private school cost and compare it to a public cost on a macro. As you saw private schools charge differently by elementary, middle and high school, a math teacher would tell his students it would need to be broken down by three groups…..once again bad math by the so called math teacher.

                    • mpierce says:

                      that your math war wrong you admitted

                      I admitted no such thing.

                      Second my other point is you cannot use a one size fit all statement about private schools and public schools it all depends on area

                      You didn’t make that point nor support it.

  2. benevolus says:

    OK, so is there going to be private school for all kids? And if not, what happens to the kids who don’t go private? Are we saying we are just warehousing them until they end up in prison?

    • mpierce says:

      Average GOAL scholarship: $3700
      Average Georgia public school expenditure per pupil (09-10): $10,700

      More students taking advantage of GOAL means more money left for those who stay.

      • John Konop says:

        M,

        I am guessing math is not one of your strong subjects. You realize if the students going to private schools were not getting anything before the law than you would multiple the amount of students getting the $3700 and that would be a shortfall for public school education. If this bill on a percentage increased the amount of kids attending private school on a percentage you would than take $7,000 times the increase amount of kids to figure out the net amount of dollars either way. Now since no one is claiming a material increase of students attending private school since this bill passed one would assume that public schools lost money. You can argue you are fine with that, but you should understand the math.

        • mpierce says:

          I have a Math degree, was on Walton HS Math team, have numerous individual math competition awards, and place 8th in Georgia on the American High School Mathematics Examination. What are you math bona fides?

          FYI
          OCGA 20-2A-1 “Eligible student” means a student who is a Georgia resident who, immediately prior to receiving a scholarship or tuition grant under Code Section 20-2A-2 and enrolling in a qualified school or program, was enrolled in and attended for at least six weeks a Georgia secondary or primary public school or who is eligible to enroll in a qualified first grade, kindergarten program, or pre-kindergarten program

            • mpierce says:

              I would agree that it depends on the % of kids receiving the scholarship who would have gone to public school without it, but you conveniently leave out the context:

              From the study:”The results of the surveys completed by 754 GOAL parents
              indicate they have a variety of reasons for transferring
              their children from public schools to private schools

              • John Konop says:

                That has nothing to do with the math equation…..The equation is how many kids in private school pre the law and how many in private school post the law. The only variable would if you wanted do it on a % based on population. If you are a math teacher you would of taught your students only to deal with real numbers for any equation. That number as you know would not be used in any formula without knowing the net. If I posted Y amount of parents kids left private schools in sub set and used it in the macro math problem without net information you would mark the problem wrong.

                I live in a world of dealing with real numbers not what I feel, think……

                For the record my wife and I sent both our kids to private school for most of their elementary school years. I am not saying that it is not a legitimate point about parents paying taxes and not getting a service. With that said I am always honest about the math. The number one reason businesses fail is the owners lie to themselves.

                Since on a macro the amount of kids have been stable in private schools pre the law to post the law, one can assume this law the state money. Somehow they had to pay for this in the school budget. As I said you could debate the fairness issue for tax payers, but the above is true. Yes or no?

                • mpierce says:

                  “That has nothing to do with the math equation”

                  You do understand the word “context” right? The statement was made in reference to those choosing to leave public for private using GOAL.

                  “The equation is how many kids in private school pre the law and how many in private school post the law. The only variable would if you wanted do it on a % based on population.”

                  BS.

                  1)Not all kids going to private school are eligible for the scholarship much less receive it.
                  2) It also matters whether or not those who do get the scholarship would have attended public school without it.

                  I am not saying that it is not a legitimate point about parents paying taxes and not getting a service.

                  That is a valid point and a discussion worth having, but separate from this discussion.

                  With that said I am always honest about the math.

                  I disagree. Do you really want to rehash your changing numbers and false statements from the charter school discussions?

                  Since on a macro the amount of kids have been stable in private schools pre the law to post the law

                  You have not shown numbers to back that up much less shown any trend analysis or causality.

                  the above is true. Yes or no?

                  No.

        • mpierce says:

          I suppose I should post the full eligibility section

          (1) “Eligible student” means a student who is a Georgia resident who, immediately prior to receiving a scholarship or tuition grant under Code Section 20-2A-2 and enrolling in a qualified school or program, was enrolled in and attended for at least six weeks a Georgia secondary or primary public school or who is eligible to enroll in a qualified first grade, kindergarten program, or pre-kindergarten program; provided, however, that if a student is deemed an eligible student pursuant to this paragraph, he or she shall continue to qualify as such until he or she graduates, reaches the age of 20, or returns to a public school, whichever occurs first; and provided, further, that the enrollment and six-week public school attendance requirements shall be waived in the case of a student who, based on the school attendance zone of his or her primary residence, is or would be assigned to a public school that the Office of Student Achievement determines to be a low-performing school, who is the subject of officially documented cases of school based physical violence or student related verbal abuse threatening physical harm, or who was enrolled in a home study program meeting the requirements of subsection (c) of Code Section 20-2-690 for at least one year immediately prior to receiving a scholarship or tuition grant under Code Section 20-2A-2.

  3. Dave Bearse says:

    A tax credit is not the same as a donation as the word is generally understood, unless one considers it a donation from government to the tax credit recipient.

Comments are closed.