October 2, 2023

Survey Finds Parental Support for AI in K-12 Classrooms, with Lingering Concerns

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What’s a Rich Text element?
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Optimism around its role in revolutionizing technology, but impact on their child’s future less certain

[Arlington, VA] –The National Coalition for Public School Options (PSO) today released the results from a national survey conducted by Cygnal on parents’ attitudes towards artificial intelligence and K-12 education.

The survey, which encompassed responses from 1,000 parents across the country, aimed to gauge parental attitudes, awareness, and opinions regarding AI technology and the state of K-12 education in America. The findings unveiled a complex relationship between parents and AI, emphasizing potential pitfalls for the technology, and places where regulation may be welcome.

Key Findings:

  • 49.9% of parents expressed a favorable opinion of AI (vs. 32.2% negative).
  • 71.8% of parents believe AI will bring in a new revolution in technology (vs. 14.2% say it will not make a difference), and 39.6% say it will have a positive impact on K-12 education (vs. 32.3% negative).
  • At the same time, 71.5% say they are concerned about AI technology, with 68.1% saying they are worried that AI will interfere with their child’s career opportunities after high school.

The closer AI gets to student learning, the more parents are concerned about its use:

  • 53.4% support teachers using AI to write lessons and develop class materials (vs. 33.1% against);
  • 45.1% say K-12 schools should be able to use AI to evaluate students’ academic performance (vs. 41.6% against);
  • 44.3% think K-12 schools should be able to use AI to provide direct teaching and instruction to students (vs. 42.5% against);
  • 42.9% believe K-12 students should be able to use AI for schoolwork and assignments (vs. 43.2% against).
  • 55% of parents want to see more regulation on AI in K-12 education (vs. 17% oppose).

While parents are largely supportive of AI, they want to see some regulation on its use in K-12 education. Messaging both increased support for +3%) and against regulation (+2%). Messaging around AI hurting student learning and impacting one-on-one teacher time make parents more supportive of regulation, while messaging on regulation hindering innovation make them less supportive.

Letrisha Weber, National Board President of PSO, commented on the survey findings, saying, “The results of this survey provide valuable insights into the complex relationship between parents and AI.”

“While parents recognize the potential benefits of AI, it is evident that concerns about job opportunities, student learning and one-on-one instruction time with teachers persist,” continued Weber.

“We believe that parents should have a seat at the table when policies regarding AI’s use in K-12 education are being made so they can voice these concerns.”

Beyond the AI findings, the study also examined parents’ thoughts on school choice. The findings found widespread and bipartisan support for empowering parents to have a choice in their child’s school:

  • Overall, 66% support school choice in general. This number cut across political parties, with 72% of Democrats, 55% of Independents and 69% of Republicans in support.
  • Support was also high for options including online/virtual schools, with 61% in favor of providing parents with this option. Support cuts across the partisan divide with 68% of parents identifying as Democrats, 58% as Independents and 55% as Republicans. Parents also overwhelmingly support education savings accounts (64% support), with strong support again on both sides of the aisle (72% identify as Democrats, 55% as Independents and 63% as Republicans).
  • Parents also have a positive view of traditional public schools (69%), and 65% were satisfied with the quality of education students receive in our country today (vs 34% dissatisfied). This number was higher when asked about the quality of education students receive in their local area (67% satisfied vs 31% dissatisfied).

The full study and itsfindings are available here

The National Coalition for Public School Options (PSO) is a national alliance of parents that supports and defends parents’ rights to access the best public school options for their children. The coalition supports the creation of public school options, including charter schools, online schools, magnet schools, open enrollment policies, and other innovative education programs. Additionally, we advocate for free and equal access without restrictions to these public schools for all children.

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