One-third of low-income parents said transportation challenges precluded them from sending their children to better schools located outside of their neighborhoods, according to a study released earlier this month by the Center on Reinventing Public Education.
Researchers from the University of Denver and the University of Washington Bothell surveyed 600 parents with income of up to $75,000 a year who live in two urban school districts in Denver and Washington, D.C. They found that those parents who had limited transportation options for their children are less satisfied with their children’s current school than those who do not have barriers to transportation to schools of choice.
In fact, 27 percent of the parents said they would have chosen a school outside their neighborhood for their children if it weren’t for challenges in getting them to school. Troubling for school transportation professionals is that most children who attend out-of-neighborhood schools must be driven by their parents. Parents who cited transportation challenges to schools in which they would prefer to enroll their children also said improved information outreach efforts by school districts are needed. The study also found that few school districts offer innovative transportation programs beyond standard school bus routes.
Meanwhile, 61 percent said they were satisfied with their child’s school. The study found a correlation between higher family income and increased transportation options to standard public schools, public charters or private school
The entire report is available online.