by Dr. Robert Luebke
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
For the last week, I’ve been writing about the responses parents provided to questions they were asked about their child’s school and how they were being educated. We shared results before the election in hopes that they would enrich the discussion about local school board races and improve our understanding of education in general. We learned many things about what parents think about their schools and what they believe is going on in their child’s classroom. Access those articles here, here, here, and here. The poll results used in the article are from a September 2022 Civitas Poll.
One finding that came through loud and clear is that parents want more control over how their child is educated. That’s been a constant theme in our polling for the past several years. So it was really no surprise to find that greater parental involvement was a theme that reverberated through a national poll released last week and funded by the Walton Family Foundation and the Stand Together Trust. Briefly stated, the survey attempts to show how parent preferences have changed during the pre- and post-pandemic periods. Some significant findings include:
Over half of the survey respondents (3,115) said they would prefer to direct their child’s education rather than rely on the child’s school system.
59 percent of survey respondents said their educational preferences changed after the pandemic.
In addition, 51 percent said personal interest and needs should take precedence in a child’s education over grade-level requirements.
Lastly, 80 percent of respondents also believe learning can and should happen anywhere. That’s a large jump from pre-pandemic levels and reflective of growing dissatisfaction with the current curriculum in many schools and how courses are offered.
The pandemic was a great challenge for school districts, educators, students, and parents. Those hardships have fueled a desire for greater parental control over their child’s education. That’s a good thing. And, one of the reasons why we need to empower parents and continue to improve how we educate our children.