Majority of Americans Feel K-12 Students, Families Should be Able to Choose Tuition-Free Online Learning Options to Meet Student Needs

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Survey commissioned by Connections Education finds blended learning, online courses, online school options strongly supported; findings show Americans view online schools as potentially better able to personalize education

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Leading provider of virtual education solutions for students in grades K–12

As the national conversation about online schools continues to be driven by policy-makers and industry groups, it is important to take a step back and listen to what the American public, particularly parents of school-age children, want for their children

The majority of Americans, 76 percent, feel that K-12 public school students should be able to choose tuition-free online learning options to meet a student’s learning needs, according to findings from a new independent survey of U.S. households supported by Connections Education. Those with children in the household were even more likely to support online learning options (86 percent) compared to those with no children in the household (71 percent).

“As the national conversation about online schools continues to be driven by policy-makers and industry groups, it is important to take a step back and listen to what the American public, particularly parents of school-age children, want for their children’s education,” said Steven Guttentag, president and co-founder of Connections Education.

In addition to voicing support for online learning options, Americans are optimistic that online options could help personalize education, which is not widespread in the education system, according to the survey results. Educators agree that the more personalized a student’s education is to his/her individual needs, the better that student will do in school. When asked how they would grade today’s schools on delivering personalized education to each student, few parents (4%) give school personalization an “A” grade (19% “B” grade). Yet, 67 percent of survey respondents agree that online schools have the potential to better personalize education to each student based on his or her needs, compared to traditional schools.

Exposure to online learning and online schools has a significant impact on whether someone views public online schools more favorably. Of respondents who have a child or know anyone who has a child in online public school, 57 percent give the online school an ‘A’ or ‘B’ and 87 percent give it a ‘C’ or higher. Additionally, those who have a child or know of a child enrolled in online public school are more likely to rate the quality of the education at online public schools with the highest mark of “excellent,” placing these “excellent” quality ratings on par or above traditional public and public charter schools. Excellent ratings were highest for private and homeschool options.

“While it’s not surprising that those familiar with online school more clearly recognize the value, these findings do indicate an ongoing need for dialogue and continuing education around what online school is, how curriculum is delivered, and what an online learning environment is like,” continued Guttentag.

For more information on the survey findings, please contact Allison Bazin at Connections Education 609-247-0275 / abazin(at)ConnectionsEducation(dot)com.

SURVEY METHODOLOGY
The results are based on a nationwide online survey of U.S. adults that was fielded by ORC International in April 2016. In total, 1,020 respondents took part in the survey, with an associated margin of error of +/- 3.07%. All results were analyzed using key demographic and attitudinal breaks, including age/generation by children in the household, gender, level of education, income and exposure to online learning. The data presented in this report have been statistically balanced to ensure that the results are in line with overall U.S. population figures for age, gender and ethnicity.

About Connections Education
Connections Education is a leading provider of high-quality, highly accountable virtual education solutions for students in grades K–12. Founded in 2001, the company’s Connections Academy delivers individualized learning to students by supporting tuition-free virtual public schools. In the 2015–2016 school year, Connections Academy supported 30 virtual public schools in 26 states—serving more than 65,000 students. Connections Education also offers a fully online private school for students worldwide. The Connections Learning by Pearson division meets the needs of schools, school districts, and other institutions with a full range of digital learning solutions for grades K–12 including: online courses, a program for homebound students, a digital learning platform, and private and public online schools. Connections Education is based in Baltimore, Maryland and was named a 2015 and 2014 “Top Workplace” by the Baltimore Sun and a 2013 “Best Place to Work” by Baltimore magazine. Connections Education is part of the global learning company Pearson.

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Allison Bazin
Connections Education
+1 (609) 247-0275
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