Parents rank their 7 biggest concerns for their students

Parents say maintaining friendships and performing well academically are their students' priorities
By: | May 3, 2021

A survey asking parents about students’ enthusiasm for school may reinforce district leaders’ plans to prioritize social-emotional learning post-COVID.

Nearly half (46%) of respondents said their students were less enthusiastic about “a normal school experience” than they were before COVID, according to a survey of 432 parents by Lead4Change, a student leadership program.

Still, 28% of respondents said their students were more enthusiastic about school in the wake of the pandemic, according to the survey, which covered parents at the high school, middle school and elementary school levels.

Many parents expressed confidence in their abilities to help their children in a range of areas. At the top of that list were discussing social issues generating national headlines and mental health.

About half of parents said they could guide their children in finding a sense of purpose during quarantine, but were slightly less confident about helping them maintain friendships virtually.

They were least confident about helping students make a difference on issues that matter to them, the survey found.

Parents also ranked their biggest concerns for their students:

  1. Emotional wellbeing: 61%
  2. Lack of participation in extracurricular activities: 59%
  3. Falling behind academically: 46%
  4. Inability to engage with peers on social and political issues: 41%
  5. Less individualized attention from teachers: 41%
  6. Lack of community service opportunities: 23&
  7. Lack of leadership opportunities: 19%

When asked what was most important to their students, more parents said maintaining friendships and performing well academically.

Tracking learning loss

Meanwhile, yet more research is identifying learning loss that administrators will have to contend with in the coming months.

Learning losses were greater in math than in reading, and in schools with higher poverty rates, according to ed-tech provider iStation.

Based on its own data, iStation found that students lost approximately two months’ learning in reading due to the COVID-19 school closures in spring 2020, in addition to one month of summer learning loss.

In math, students entering first grade in fall 2020 had higher scores in September than they had in March.

When compared with typical summer learning loss in math, students entering second grade lost an extra month, students entering third and fourth grades lost an extra two months, students entering fifth and sixth grades lost an extra three months, iStation found.