2014 Survey Reveals Why Parents Choose Online School
The beginning of summer is a natural time for families to consider how much their children have learned during the school year. For a school’s administrators, faculty, and staff, it’s a time to consider not only whether their students measure up academically, but also how happy parents are with the school’s performance. At Connections Academy, it’s time to reveal the results of the 2014 Parent Satisfaction Survey, one of our online school’s most important “report cards.”
Now in its twelfth year, the annual survey is open to all families with students enrolled at the time of the survey. This year, 45% of families responded, for a total of more than 18,000 respondents.* An independent third party conducted the survey and kept responses anonymous, so families could feel comfortable sharing their opinions freely.
High Quality Equals High Satisfaction
The 2014 results are in, and they reveal that families who make the choice to enroll students in Connections Academy schools continue to be overwhelmingly pleased with their children’s educational experience. Overall, parents continue to give Connections Academy schools high marks for academic rigor, program flexibility, quality teachers, and delivering high levels of student achievement.
Additional highlights include:
- 92% of Connections Academy parents recommend the school to other parents.
- 89% of parents gave Connections Academy an “A” or “B” grade. (In comparison, in the 45th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes toward the Public Schools, 71% of public school parents gave the public school their oldest child attends an “A” or a “B” grade.) **
- 84% of parents say they are more satisfied with the virtual school than with their child’s previous school.
Reasons for Choosing Online School
The parent survey results also suggest common reasons for the continued growth of virtual schooling in the United States. Three-quarters of parents participating in the survey said their children had been enrolled in their neighborhood bricks-and-mortar public school prior to joining a Connections Academy school. When asked about their top three reasons for switching to online schools, parents told us:
- 45% wanted a change from their current school setting
- 44% needed or wanted a flexible schedule
- 35% expressed a desire for a safe learning environment
Additionally, 50% of first-year online school parents agreed with the statement, “I have a child who does not learn well in a traditional school.”
Other frequent factors leading parents to enroll students in the full-time online schools included:
- the desire to have greater involvement in their child’s education (26%);
- student health issues (14%);
- a child bullied in his or her previous school (10%);
- and students who wish to pursue the arts or athletics (5%).
Look Who’s Talking
Given the opportunity to add their own remarks, many parents praised this new way of educating their children. Jennifer Jennings, a Central California Connections Academy parent, told us, “The teachers are exceptional and will respond quickly whenever I have a question. I can arrange my children’s lessons to coincide with our active lifestyle. My children are learning so much with Connections Academy, and I get to be a part of it. I get to watch it all happen firsthand.”
Iowa Connections Academy parent Michele Omvig shared her insights. “I love that the teachers are understanding and available; they stay connected with my children and with me. I also love that as a parent I can log on to any computer anywhere and see what is happening in my children’s education in each class.”
Perhaps Joy Bauer, one South Carolina Connections Academy parent, summed up the parent perspective best. “I absolutely love this program. It has been one of the best decisions our family has made. Quality teachers and a rigorous curriculum are of great importance to us, and Connections Academy does not disappoint. My son loves his teachers and wants to work hard for them!”
What insights can you add about virtual school? Please share your reasons for choosing this educational option for your children.
*Connections Academy’s 2014 Parent Satisfaction Survey was conducted from January 14 to February 28, 2014m by Shapiro, an independent market research company.
** William J. Bushaw and Shane J. Lopez, the 45th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes toward the Public Schools, “Betting on Teachers.” Phi Delta Kappan, September 2013.