Transformative, Evidence-Based Ideas

The Demand Side of Alternative Education Products

Abstract

Data on the popularity of alternative educational models like “pandemic pods,” homeschooling, “hybrid” homeschooling, and tutoring has been anecdotal, episodic, and parochial. Journalistic accounts of new learning communities in some cities and some states have profiled schools, the educators that teach in them, and the families that attend them, but collecting reliable, nationwide data has proved challenging. We at EdChoice have been surveying a nationally representative sample of Americans every month since early 2020, with an oversample of school parents starting in September 2020. This has allowed us to measure the nationwide sentiment around learning pods, homeschooling, hybrid homeschooling, tutoring, and the like. We have also surveyed a nationally representative sample of teachers every quarter and have put three polls of the nation’s teenagers in the field in August of 2020, February of 2021, and September of 2021. Our survey results show there is potentially a robust market for learning pods, or similar arrangements such as microschools, hybrid homeschools, and homeschool cooperatives, and that this market could include large numbers of Black, Hispanic, and lower-income families.

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