Survey: NYC parents want more engagement, mental health supports & teaching about racial justice

By: | June 29, 2021

The dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice led to many uncertainties among families of school-aged children and young people across the country. As a result of quarantines, lockdowns and remote schooling, parents and family members were forced to embrace new roles as home-school educators, often with very little notice, as school openings and closings happened overnight. In New York City, the nation’s largest public school system and one of the first to reopen its doors to students last fall, there were rapid policy changes that put untenable demands on working parents — such as an ambitious full-school reopening in September that was followed by a switch back to fully remote by November.

Our team of researchers wanted to hear New York City parents’ perspectives on an education system turned upside down. We designed an interactive survey using the platform that asked participants to “agree,” “disagree,” “pass” or “not vote” on “seed” statements about how their children were faring, what schools were doing, whether there were adequate supports and what schools should be teaching about racial justice. A unique feature of the survey is that it allowed participants to add their own statements and respond to the statements of others; 217 people responded to the original 17 statements and added more, for a total of 92 statements that were included in our final analysis. Twenty participants agreed to be interviewed, which added depth and personal experiences to the survey results.

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