Despite parent satisfaction with schools, red flags for lawmakers
The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) conducted a groundbreaking survey of Wisconsin parents with school-age children in April to gain insight into their experience with K-12 education during COVID-19.
The Survey: WILL contracted with Dynata to conduct an online survey of 400 Wisconsin parents with children age 5-17. The survey was conducted from April 25-27 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.89%. WILL’s survey sought to better understand the experience of parents, their level of satisfaction, and views about the future.
- 80% of respondents indicated some level of satisfaction with the education their children are receiving during the shutdown.
- Just 12% indicated they were dissatisfied.
- 96% report adequate internet access and 93% adequate computers and tablets.
- 90% report teachers have been accessible.
- 40% report that their students are learning new material, 44% report a mix of new and previously covered material.
- 66% report receiving learning materials online.
- 30% of respondents report spending their own money on education materials.
- 65% report spending more than $50 and 43% report spending more than $100. Almost 10% report spending more than $500.
- Low-income families were more likely to spend money on home education.
- 53% of low-income families report a lost job, a cut in hours, or furlough.
- Low-income parents were more likely to report inadequate internet and not enough computers.
- 16% report that their children are only learning previously covered material. Respondents to this question identified some large districts including Milwaukee Public Schools, Racine Unified, Kenosha Unified, and Madison Metropolitan School District.
- 5% report receiving no materials at all. Respondents to this question identified Milwaukee Public Schools, Sun Prairie, Rhinelander, River Falls, Oconomowoc, and Westby.
- Most parents (78%) don’t want to see the school year extended into the summer, while 22% think it is a good idea.
- 70% report that they expect their child will be prepared for the next grade.
- 20% do not and 10% are currently unsure.
- 29% report being more interested in accessing online courses offered at other schools in the future.
- SB 789 is awaiting a vote in the State Senate and would expand course access, including online courses.
The Quote: Research Director Will Flanders said, “Despite the enormous disruption caused by COVID-19, Wisconsin parents appear to be generally satisfied with how their schools – public, private, and charter – are adjusting to distance learning. But lawmakers should be very concerned that there are quite a few families with children who are not learning new material and who are spending money out of their own pocket for virtual education.”