Since 1993, NHES surveys have collected information from parents on the general types of public or private schools in which their children are enrolled. NHES data reveal that a greater percentage of students have parents who are choosing their child's school than in the past. The percentage of students enrolled in assigned public schools decreased between 1993 and 2007, as more students enrolled in other types of schools.
Overall, about 3 in 20 students (16 percent) were enrolled in chosen public schools in 2007, but some groups of students were enrolled at higher percentages than were others. Black students were enrolled in chosen public schools at a higher rate than were White, Hispanic, and Asian students. A greater percentage of students living in cities attended chosen public schools than did students living in the suburbs, towns, or rural locales.
Demographic differences were found in student enrollment among students enrolled in different types of schools. Higher percentages of private school students were White than were public school students. Higher percentages of public school students were poor or near-poor compared with private school students. A greater percentage of students enrolled in religious private schools lived in two-parent families than did students in assigned public schools or in chosen public schools. Also, higher percentages of students attending public schools than students attending private schools had parents whose highest level of education was a high school diploma or GED.
About 2 percent of all students in grades 1–12 attended charter schools in 2007. The students in charter schools represented 6 percent of students in chosen public schools. A higher percentage of Hispanic students attended charter schools than did White students or Asian students. Students living in cities attended charter schools at a greater rate than did students living in other locales. A smaller percentage of charter school students were White compared with students attending other public schools.
About 2.9 percent of all school-age students in 2007 were homeschooled. Some of these students also attended school part-time, but most of them were homeschooled full-time. A greater percentage of students from two-parent households were homeschooled compared with students from one-parent households, and a greater percentage of rural students were homeschooled than students living in other locales.
In 2007, students enrolled in chosen public schools and private schools had parents who were more satisfied with their children's schools than did students enrolled in assigned public schools. Also, higher percentages of private school students had parents who were involved in a range of school activities (i.e., attending general school meetings, parent-teacher conferences, and school events; volunteering for school committees) compared with public school students.