Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, and Connections Academy, which delivers full-time online school for grades K-12, released the results of a new opinion poll and found that amid a year of quarantines and school disruptions, American parents found some things to embrace about remote learning — even if they found it tough at first.
The 2021 Parent Pulse Report, a follow-up to the March 2020 Parent Pulse Report, tracks parent attitudes about education during the pandemic. With the pandemic changing many American behaviors and habits, education is proving no different. While there is broad recognition among parents that many students still struggle with isolation and that the experience was not equal for all, the survey reveals ongoing support for online learning in an increasingly digital world.
“The results of this year’s poll speak to the strength of families and the resilience of students. Our experience told us that the transition to remote learning would be difficult for schools and families, but we also knew it would improve over time,” said Mickey Revenaugh, co-founder of Connections Academy and director of new school models at Pearson. “As the comfort with online learning and all-things-digital grows, many families now expect their students will benefit from both in-person and online learning.”
The 2021 Parent Pulse Report’s top findings include:
- Families are rallying to support students: An overwhelming number of parents report that their families have gotten closer (84%), while 84% of men in the household reported increased participation in their children’s education (compared to 68% of women). Seventy-one percent of parents agree their child needs a lot of support with online learning, but that the experience was “gratifying” (76%).
- Parents are concerned about the effects of school disruption; but most believe children will emerge with new skills: Despite concerns about their children losing learning (66%) and regressing socially (65%), approximately 77% of parents believe that kids will “bounce back quickly,” and with new skills like self-sufficiency (79%), growing resilience (78%), and competencies for the future of work (85%).
- Parents see a future with online education: When asked about their ideal vision for learning in the future, parents were almost split: 47% love their brick-and-mortar school, but 43% raised their hand for either full-time online or hybrid (a mix of in-person and online) school; 10% chose homeschooling. About 60% will consider staying with online school even after the pandemic is over. Eighty percent of parents agree that online education should be used during emergencies instead of closing schools, including snow days.
- Parents are split on vaccines and the return to school: Fifty-nine percent of American parents surveyed think a vaccine should be required of students returning to physical classrooms and about six in ten parents will keep kids learning at home until their child is vaccinated.
- Parents agree that women, low-income families, and students of color will bear the brunt of the pandemic: Parents recognize that low-income families have been hit hard and may struggle to “catch up” (73%) and that children of color will pay a disproportionate price for the school disruptions (65%). There was also agreement that women who left their careers to take care of their children during the pandemic will suffer a longer-term toll (79%).
- The pre-pandemic mental health issues continue to be a problem: Sixty-six percent of parents say their child has felt anxious or depressed during this time. Nearly 70% report their children have friends struggling with mental health issues.
- High schoolers have pushed pause on typical teen rights-of-passage: Parents report their high school students are not getting their driver’s licenses (49%), dating (67%), or getting jobs (50%). Forty-two percent of high schoolers are reevaluating their college plans.
Full results can be found online at: www.connectionsacademy.com/parentpulse