WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A recently released national poll reveals public school parents’ perspectives on their children’s academic, emotional and physical well-being and identifies a disconnect between views on students’ performance in school and the national data.
The study—“Parents 2016: Hearts and Minds of Public School Parents in an Uncertain World”—which polled more than 1,300 parents with children in grades K-8, was conducted by Hart Research and commissioned by Learning Heroes in collaboration with Univision Communications Inc.; in partnership with National PTA, National Urban League, NCLR and UNCF; and with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The findings show parents’ high expectations and deep engagement in their children’s development and unearth areas where parents most need support.
“Across race, ethnicity and income, parents want to see their child go to college and are committed to helping them get there,” said Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research. “But along with these shared goals, parents share worries. On top of pressing concerns such as bullying, physical safety and their child’s social-emotional development, many worry that their kids won’t be prepared for college.”
- Parents are united in their belief in the importance of college. Seventy-five percent of parents believe it is very important or absolutely essential for their child to attain a college education, including 90 percent of Hispanic parents, 83 percent of African American parents and 67 percent of white parents. Yet two-fifths are not very confident that their children will be prepared to succeed in college, and more than half (53 percent) of all parents—including 70 percent of Hispanic parents—worry about their ability to afford it.
- Parents believe their children are on-track academically, despite national data. The study finds that 90 percent believe their child performs at or above grade level in reading and the same proportion feel that way about their child’s performance in math, compared to just over a third of students who successfully met that bar according to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress. This disconnect likely reflects an awareness lag, as states transition to higher learning standards and accompanying state assessments.
- Parents believe specific resources will be most helpful in preparing their child for success. When asked to rate how helpful various resources would be, parents prioritized an explanation of grade-level expectations for their child and activities to improve math and English skills.
- To provide parents with the tools they need to guide their children in their education journey, and in response to the study findings, Learning Heroes, National PTA and Univision Communications Inc. released a “Readiness Roadmap” available in both English (http://bealearninghero.org/readinessroad-map) and Spanish (http://bealearn-inghero.org/es/readinessroadmap), including:
- Grade-by-grade learning goal breakdowns, which parents rated as the most helpful resource to support their child’s success with 66 percent stating this would be extremely or very helpful.
- Tools for assessing and promoting social-emotional wellness (48 percent of parents worry about this topic), including tips for effectively communicating with teachers (63 percent of parents communicate with their child’s teachers at least once a month).
Resources for preparing for and paying for college, as:
- Thirty-eight percent of parents worry about their child having the knowledge and skills needed to be ready for college, including 58 percent of Hispanic, 33 percent of African American and 31 percent of white parents; and
- Fifty-three percent of parents worry about their ability to pay for college, including 70 percent of Hispanic, 52 percent of African American and 47 percent of white parents.
“Parents are deeply engaged in helping their child be successful, and that looks different for every child. Parents shouldn’t feel like they are on a wild goose chase when searching for the right resources and help for their child’s educational success,” said Bibb Hubbard, founder and president of Learning Heroes. “As K-8 parents learn how to put their child on the path to success in college, the Readiness Roadmap makes that job easier by quickly connecting them to top notch tools and resources.”
“As parents, we want the best for our children and want to support their learning and achievement. During this important transition to higher standards and aligned tests, many of us don't feel adequately informed to navigate our children’s educational journey,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, executive director of National PTA. “These new resources from Learning Heroes will ensure that every parent has what they need to make certain their child has every opportunity for success.
A summary of the “Parents 2016: Hearts and Minds of Public School Parents in an Uncer-tain World” is available in English (http://bealearninghero.org/down-loads/LearningHeroes-ExecSum-mary-english.pdf ) and in Spanish (http://bealearninghero.org/down-loads/LearningHeroes-ExecSum-mary-spanish.pdf).