More New York parents aren't finding remote learning successful, survey suggests

Oct 29, 2020

A study released this week by Education Trust - New York shows a majority of parents surveyed have a generally positive feeling about how their children's school districts are managing through the COVID pandemic. But when it comes to remote learning? Much fewer are satisfied.

Education Trust, in partnership with Global Strategy Group, surveyed 800 parents throughout New York State earlier this month. Overall, 75 percent of those responding rated their respective school districts' handling of coronavirus as "positive." However, the numbers were lower among parents of color and parents with lower incomes.

That positive feeling lessens when it comes to remote learning. Only 39 percent of parents whose children are studying remotely rated the model as successful. Francisco Araiza, associate director of research and policy for Education Trust - New York, says while there's a larger amount of concern among parents in New York City versus the rest of the state, there's a feeling statewide that remote learning needs to be improved.

"Those concerns are really grounded in a lot of things we've heard among these surveys," he said. "That includes the availability of teachers and the amount of live remote instruction, access to personal learning devices and high speed internet, which has been a concern throughout the pandemic, and then also student attendance and engagement."

A wide majority of parents expressed concern about their child falling behind academically during the pandemic. Fifty-nine percent said they are "very concerned" about that possibility, while 54 percent said they are "very concerned" about their child's readiness for the next grade level.

Regarding handling of coronavirus by school districts, 71 percent of parents of color (including 68 percent of Latinx parents) expressed positive feelings. They are also, according to the survey, more likely to be concerned about their child's health and family's health overall.

"And for that reason, they're more likely to keep their students home," Araiza said. "For parents of color, 61 percent are very concerned that their child will contract the virus. There's a higher share than white parents, which compares at only 52 percent concerned. Parents who are fully remote are at 63 percent versus parents who have in-person or hybrid learners, which are 51 percent. And again, in New York City, this is a bit more acute, considering it's been the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the state. That's not too surprising."