This blog post is republished from the Digital Learning Collaborative blog – February 18, 2021.
Our recent blog posts have looked at policy and practice developments from states and schools, and opinions from a variety of experts. Arguably, however, parents are as important as any other group in determining what changes will stick in education. With that in mind, we have been monitoring some recent opinion polls regarding what parents think about education during the pandemic. The data points and graphics in this post are from the National Parents Union, their polling, and their Twitter feed.
First, NPU’s most recent polling shows that 53% of parents have a child attending school remotely, and 42% would prefer to continue with remote learning. This is higher than the percentage that would choose all onsite, or a mix (27% and 26%, respectively).
The graphic above doesn’t show responses by race, but other polling from NPU suggests that non-White parents did not expect to feel safe sending their children back to school as quickly as White parents.
Although that poll is from mid-2020, a recent New York Times article paints a similar picture:
Another ongoing topic of discussion has been social and emotional health of students. NPU’s polls show that parents have been concerned about these issues as well, and concerns have been rising.
A final, and most compelling, point:
By 59% to 35%, parents believe that schools should rethink education instead of getting “back to the way things were before.”
We are hearing the same from many teachers, school leaders, and policymakers. But it won’t be easy. Let’s hope the pressure and momentum are sustained even when the pandemic has passed.