Many schools make it too easy for parents (and their students) to leave. Earlier, we wrote in this space about the fragility of trust in the private, independent school environment, and we keep hearing instances where students leave due to its erosion.
One administrator we know said that parents seem “to be looking for reasons to leave,” suggesting that the market for education has become more transactional and transient. No doubt it has, but in our exit interviews with parents, we find hypervigilance born of escalating anxiety; to put it another way, today’s parents are more anxious because they are making a complex, expensive decision with massive (and unknowable) consequences. In this overheated emotional zone, it doesn’t take much to break whatever ephemeral trust may have existed and prompt thoughts of exit.
Because brand name entities tend to be trusted more to begin with (as demonstrated by several marketing and e-commerce studies), schools with strong reputations as a leader in a given market or category may be more likely to receive the benefit of the doubt. However, most schools do not have a leverageable brand that provides a trust cushion. For them, the game is about fixing the things that reduce trust in the first place.