2020 Education Next Survey

Research Rundown Issue: July '20
Publisher: Education Next
Date Published: July '20


Education Next asked a nationally representative sample of parents about their child’s experience in distance learning and, in particular, satisfaction with school response, how distance learning impacted their child’s academics, and how often teachers met with their child. The survey found that 71% of parents think that their children learned less than they would have if schools had remained open, but at the same time were happy with how the school responded. The survey also found that more than once a week:

  • 46% reported their children having whole-class meetings;
  • 19% reported their children having a one-on-one meeting with their teachers;
  • 72% reported their children had required assignments; and
  • 47% received grades or feedback on work.

The survey also broke down the responses by race, income quartile, and school sector—charter, district, or private. Overall, the survey found that charter and private school parents reported higher satisfaction with how their school responded to COVID-19 school closures, that their child had more one-on-one interactions with their teachers, and lower rates of learning loss than district school parents. Of particular note, while 61% of charter school parents reported their children had one-on-one interactions with their teachers at least once a week, the same was true for only 37% of district and 41% of private school parents.

Why This Matters in Minnesota

These national findings align with several of the findings from the Minnesota Department of Education’s parent survey. With over 134,000 families responding to the survey, the big takeaway was that 54% of them didn’t think that distance learning went well, and this sentiment was consistent amongst racial groups. And when asked about challenges during distance learning, the main findings were students’ social-emotional and mental health decreased, there were unclear lessons, not enough communication from teachers, and a lack of adult support. Across these metrics, larger rates of Indigenous, Black, and Latino parents reported concerns than Asian or white parents. Given that there will likely be at least some periods of intermittent distance learning or hybrid models, schools must collaborate with families to ensure that they are meeting the needs of their students, and particularly those most underserved.

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