The parental school satisfaction paradox

A recent Gallup poll found that 73 percent of parents of school-aged children are satisfied with their education in public schools (“Who’s Unhappy With Schools? The Answer Surprised Me.” The New York Times, Mar. 20). If so, then why are there such long wait lists for admission to charter schools?

The disconnect is confusing. The best explanation is that those who are disaffected with traditional public schools don’t have their own children attending them.  The other possible explanation involves cognitive dissonance. People want consistency and order in their opinions.  As a result, parents with children in traditional public schools want to believe that they are receiving a solid education.  Otherwise, they would have a hard time living with themselves.

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