Today’s guest post comes from Learning Heroes. We’ve highlighted their research and resources many times in the past. Their latest report, Parents 2021: Going Beyond the Headlines, illustrates the opportunities for PTAs and schools to make significant progress on student success through meaningful family engagement. You can find the slide deck, a short video, social media toolkit, fact sheet, and webinar on their research page. The research was done in partnership with National PTA, National Urban League, UnidosUS, and Univision.

At a time when headlines often pit parents and educators against each other, Parents 2021: Going Beyond the Headlines, Learning Heroes’ sixth annual nationwide survey, conducted by Edge Research, tells a more nuanced and hopeful story of how increased engagement and strong agreement demonstrate a desire for more robust family-school partnerships.

“With parents and educators reporting deeper involvement with one another, shared priorities, and common goals, the time is now to break down barriers that lead to inequities and support districts as they ground their family engagement strategies in what parents, teachers, and principals prioritize – trust and meaningful two-way communication between schools and families,” said Bibb Hubbard, founder & president of Learning Heroes.

Following are key findings:

  • Even more involved. Parents say they will be as or more involved in their children’s education (93%), even after an unprecedented year of engagement in their children’s education. Parents prioritize getting a better understanding of what is expected of their child (86% very/somewhat likely) and seeking a better understanding of where their child is academically (85% very/somewhat likely). Similarly, eighty-six percent of teachers and 84% of principals say they will spend the same or more effort on family
  • engagement this year.
  • Parents and educators agree what’s most important for schools: Safety of students and staff, academic progress, mental health, and emotional well-being are the top priorities for parents and educators this year. For school communications, parents prioritize direct and truthful information about performance (87% top priority/very important) and having a clear picture of their child’s achievement (85% top priority/very important). Teachers agree, saying that the most important priorities for communications are making sure parents have a clear picture of their child’s academics (88% top priority/very important) and building trust (86% top priority/very important).
  • Gap continues between parent and teacher perceptions of achievement: More than nine in ten parents (92%) believe their child is at least on grade level, with most (84%) saying that their child gets B’s or better. Meanwhile 44% of teachers say most of their students are ready for grade level work.
  • Politicians being involved in curriculum has risen to top of parent concerns. When it comes to what keeps parents up at night, this year’s top worry (68%) is, “politicians making decisions about what their children learn in the classroom”, ranking slightly higher than their children’s happiness and emotional well-being (65%) and, given their belief that their child is on grade level, being on track academically (53%).

To accompany all these findings please view our Parent Fact Sheet and our Webinar Deck here.