K-12 Learning Reflects Racial Inequity

A Survey of K-12 Parents in Massachusetts

K-12 Learning Reflects Racial Inequity

A few months into the 2020-2021 school year, questions about the success of online, hybrid and in-person school are top of mind for parents, teachers, policymakers and – well, just about everyone.

On November 19, The MassINC Polling Group’s Steve Koczela discussed the results of a survey of Massachusetts K-12 parents, exploring student experience across four key areas: school formats and supplements; at-home learning and performance; tech barriers; and social and emotional health.

Parents describe a difficult and tumultuous start to the school year, and anticipate a range of negative impacts on their children. Around half (52%) of parents say the current school year is having a negative impact on their child in terms of academics. Similar numbers say the same of mental / emotional health as well as social / behavioral skills (both 49% negative). More parents now see their children falling behind grade level (28%) compared to the previous wave of this survey in May/June, when 22% said the same. This represents a steady rise in concern since before the pandemic, when 13% of parents said their child was behind grade level.

That’s according to the latest wave of a year-long set of education surveys conducted by The MassINC Polling Group. This wave is the first statewide poll this school year examining how parents and students are engaging with education in this turbulent time. It follows MPG polling done in June, at the end of the previous academic year. With little official data available, surveys like this can help offer education leaders, advocates and the public an early look at how the school year is unfolding. The current wave is sponsored by The Barr Foundation and produced in collaboration with The Education Trust.

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