Teachers vs. Parents: Who Knows What’s Best for Students?

By Martha Cruz
September 08, 2020

While in the midst of a pandemic, many educators and parents have one question in mind: how efficient will online learning be for students this fall? Although teachers and students remain optimistic about the new change, parents are not as confident with how smoothly classes will run, according to a recent Gallup poll. After an abrupt switch to online learning as everything went into lockdown back in March, parents across the country are having lingering doubts about how organized this new system will be, and how this new style of learning will affect learning in the coming months.

Gallup and the NewSchools Venture Fund teamed up this summer to conduct a survey that would provide more understanding of the budget crises schools face, issues with technology access, and health and safety regulations. The poll results indicate that only 29 percent of parents feel confident/very confident about their child’s school’s ability to provide proper education online.

Parents Were Not Left with a Good Impression of Online Learning

Many parents based their consensus on how well the school system did to end the 2019-2020 school year. “As a parent of three children, I struggled with the sudden shift to distance learning even though I had a deep knowledge of how ed-tech tools work,” said Tonika Cheek Clayton, Managing Partner at NewSchools, in a statement. “As schools strive to better support families this fall, there’s a real need to address the inequities we witnessed earlier this year through creatively partnering with families. This will take innovation, flexibility, patience and a willingness from teachers, parents and students to try to work together in new and different ways.”

Many parents also say their children’s school district shared little information with them over the summer with the changes happening. As the school year progresses, parents should plan to see positive progression with online learning.

Teachers and Students Show More Optimism Regarding the Potential of Online Learning

Teachers and students, on the other hand, feel more confident, with 56 percent of teachers feeling optimistic about teaching online and 48 percent of students feeling satisfied with their ability to learn efficiently online. Additionally, 54 percent of students feel confident that they don’t need much support to catch up this fall.

The most significant hurdle educators face is ensuring equity with every student, especially those from less affluent families. These kids may not have the same luxuries as middle, and upper-class families do, so equipping them with the necessary materials to succeed in their education is a top priority for educators.

The health of students remains a top priority for school districts. However, many parents across the country still hope to have that same serenity that came with in-person instruction one day. It might be too early to say when that time will come.

Regardless, students, teachers, and parents must find a way to adapt to online learning for the time being and compromise to what was once a traditional learning system. The states and districts must support schools in finding creative resources for online learning rather than continuing to issue bureaucratic mandates. Creating a unique yet workable system for online education will take time and effort from many to construct. Significant results would lead to the parents feeling more confident in their child’s school, educators feeling comfortable with their support from the distinct, and students feeling well balanced with their learning system.

Read the full survey here.

Featured Image: Thomas Park, Unsplash.