While tax credit scholarships are empowering families with educational options they've never before enjoyed, the measure of success is not simply the offer of choice and opportunity. To be successful in our mission, new opportunity must stretch students academically and personally. It must enable students to discover and use their gifts, to reach their highest human potential, to grow into mature and contributing adults. In short, the opportunity must make a difference.
To measure that difference, Arete Scholars Fund has commissioned an independent research initiative that will employ scientific methodologies to test the overall effectiveness of our scholarships. The first phase of that initiative measured parental satisfaction of Arete scholarship recipients, and the results were overwhelmingly positive.
The survey was administered electronically to 610 families with children that received Arete scholarships during the 2010-11 school year. It was designed by an independent consultant to measure the perceptions and attitudes in various categories, both academic and non-academic, of a student's current and previous school. Researchers also examined reasons for transferring from public schools and explored parental investment in a child's education.
Parents from urban, rural and suburban environments alike were overwhelmingly satisfied with all aspects of their Scholar’s new school. On two especially critical academic questions, readiness to advance to the next grade and progress toward becoming a well-rounded individual, Arete partnering schools excelled ̶ with an impressive satisfaction rates of 92 percent and 93 percent, respectively. By comparison, only 49 percent and 46 percent, respectively, indicated satisfaction with their previous public school.
Notably, the survey revealed that two frequently used arguments against educational freedom (prohibitive expense and poor transportation) are untrue with Arete families. First, despite lower income levels, scholarship families are so eager for educational options that they are spending significant sums from limited personal funds. More than 57 percent of recipients reported contributing to their child's tuition and fees, with an average amount paid of just over $2,000 per year. Regarding transportation options, Arete families were actually more satisfied or content with their private school, by a margin of 86 percent to 80 percent.
Click to read more survey highlights and explore key findings that demonstrate the high level of overall satisfaction that Arete scholarship families have with their new school. The complete 2012 Parental Satisfaction Survey Report will soon be posted online at www.aretescholars.org/annual-reports-audits.
Wed, September 5, 2012