School, Interrupted

Fluent Research, a market research and evaluation firm, today released findings of its School, Interrupted: Families’ Experiences with Education during the Pandemic study, which analyzes how COVID-19 has impacted families’ experiences with distance learning and their attitudes towards education and teachers. Research indicates that although the switch to online distance learning has been largely a frustrating experience for families, parents and teens alike give educators high marks for ensuring continuing education in the time of crisis. With 82% of teens reporting that they miss going to school and 85% reporting that they have more respect for teachers and the role they play in their education, it’s clear that appreciation for teachers and schools is far higher than prior to the pandemic.

In a recent nationwide survey conducted by Fluent Research, more than 2,000 parents of school-age children and 900 teens were asked to share their thoughts about and experiences with education during the pandemic. School closings have had a large impact on support for teachers. An overwhelming majority (84%) of parents report that they now have a greater appreciation for teachers and the role they play in educating their children. This increase in respect for teachers and the work that they do is even more evident among parents of students with special needs, with nearly nine out of ten parents agreeing that their appreciation has grown through their distance learning experiences.

‘An overwhelming majority (84%) of parents report that they now have a greater appreciation for teachers and the role they play in educating their children.’

Half of the parents surveyed agree that facilitating their child’s education from home has been a frustrating experience, especially those parents who have elementary-school children and/or receive support services. Parents point to shortages of technology for adequate online learning at home and to challenges of balancing distance learning with working from home. In fact, 37% of parents have made a tech purchase or upgraded their WiFi connection as a result of the outbreak.

Students have also struggled with the shift to online distance learning. Three-quarters of parents say their child has gotten frustrated with distance learning during the past week. Although 88% of teens believe that increasing availability of computers and digital technology has had a positive impact on their learning, the vast majority of students (88%) desire to be back in the classroom with a teacher and other kids where they say they learn best . Being with their friends, attending graduations, and participating in extracurricular activities top the list of aspects of schools that students are missing most.

Despite the challenges and frustrations, more than three quarters of parents and close to 80% of teens agree that distance learning has kept them on track with their learning goals. In addition, parents of students who have Individualized Learning Plans (IEP) are significantly more likely than other parents to report that distance learning has allowed their child to keep up with their learning goals.

Other notable findings include:

●  78% of parents report that distance learning has allowed their child to keep up with his/her learning goals.

●  Two thirds of parents with students in lower elementary school (K-2) have had a difficult time balancing supporting their child’s education and working from home versus 40% of high school parents.

●  47% of parents believe that school closings will negatively affect their child’s academic performance for years to come.

●  Nine out of 10 teens have used technology for educational purposes during the pandemic, with Zoom and Google Classroom the most commonly used apps

●  Six in 10 teens report that their teachers have been very or extremely supportive during the pandemic

Click here to view the complete School, Interrupted study.

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