Public schools

Survey: Parents Are Vastly More Satisfied With In-Person Education Than Distance Learning

Low-income kids were most likely to get online-only instruction, according to Pew.


Parents of K-12 students who have returned to school are much more likely to say they are "very satisfied" with their kids' education than those still dealing with the frustrations of Zoom learning, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

The findings are hardly surprising but feature some useful numbers that demonstrate the difficulties of distance learning during COVID-19.

For kids who are back in the classroom, 54 percent of their families said they were "very satisfied" with how the school was navigating the pandemic. Another 36 percent were somewhat satisfied. On the other hand, just 29 percent of parents who have had to make do with at least some online instruction rated themselves as "very satisfied." The "very concerned" numbers were 11 points worse for mixed-learners: 32 percent versus 21 percent for in-person instruction students.

Interestingly, the survey results suggest that the most obnoxious arrangement of all might be a mix of in-person and at-home learning.

"Concerns about children falling behind in school are particularly common among parents of K-12 students who are getting at least some online instruction this fall," wrote the report's authors. "Those whose children are getting a mix of in-person and online instruction are the most concerned."

The survey also points to stark differences in how the wealthy and the economically disadvantaged have weathered school closings: 19 percent of upper-income households have hired tutors to help out, whereas just 7 percent of low-income households have done the same.

Overall, a plurality of families said their kids were getting online-only education, but the class breakdown suggests disparities: 40 percent of upper-income families are settling for Zoom learning, versus 45 percent of middle-income and 53 percent of low-income families.

What is obvious from these findings—and from any number of news reports that feature conversations with actual parents—is that virtual learning has been a stunning failure for many kids. It's obvious to both families and school administrators. It's obvious to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who told Reason in a recent interview: "For most kids, they need to be together with other kids. They need to be with their peers, with their teachers."

The one group denying this reality is the teachers unions, who are currently fighting school reopening plans in several major cities. Many unions have maintained that their members should not return for in-person instruction until there is practically zero threat of COVID-19—even though the data from schools that have reopened suggest this can be done safely, with minimal threats to adults and almost no threat to kids.

Teachers unions often assert that they don't just represent educators: They represent the interests of families as well, they say. But in this situation, at least, that just isn't true. Parents aren't satisfied with the status quo—just ask them.

NEXT: Joe Biden Should Stop Bragging About the Violence Against Women Act

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  2. Fuck that shit. My kid is getting into constant trouble because she doesn’t “tolerate masks” while being closer than six feet to people. Fuck them. Not that I can do anything about it, but fuck them.

    1. It’s also a bit of an apples-to-rotten-apples comparison. Mrs. Casual and I had a discussion when the lockdowns started about moving to a dedicated online-only education service, that drafting in-person educators into online-only education was going to be a shit show. Economics won the decision against switching, but we both agree that it has been an unmitigated shitshow. To pretend like it represents actual remote learning is pretty disingenuous. Such comparisons/conclusions need make the clear distinction between dedicated distance environments, ad hoc distance environments, and dedicated in-person environments.

      Saying parents are disapprove of distance learning is (or should potentially be regarded as) a proxy for saying parents disapprove of top-down administrative fuckery.

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    2. My wife made me a “cloth face covering” (preferred CDC terminology) from a single layer of cheesecloth. This satisfies the CDC guidelines that most fascists cite in the rules and regulations and edicts they promulgate. I can tolerate that for about 20 minutes, long enough to grab a few groceries.

      Somehow that single layer of cheesecloth is as effective as a doubled over turkish towel; as long as you show subservience, it is fine.
      (actually, it IS as effective, as in zero medical worth)

      Current CDC statement for EVERY OTHER FLU VIRUS:
      Unvaccinated Asymptomatic Persons, Including Those at High Risk for Influenza Complications
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      CDC statement for the Communist Chinese Virus before politics:
      1. “If you are sick,” the CDC says, “you should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.” But “if you are NOT sick,” it adds, “you do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask).

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  3. >>The one group denying this reality is the teachers unions, who are currently fighting school reopening plans in several major cities.


    1. Ninjas with GoPros.

  4. So will the media ask Quid Pro Joe why he favors closing private schools?

    Is it racist that Quid Pro Joe wants to deny poor black and brown children the benefit of private schools chosen by their parents!?

    1. Choice is racist and must be eliminated.

  5. I thought low income kids couldn’t get online instruction because they didn’t have wifi.

    1. Their parent looted wifi during the last peaceful protest

    2. I thought O gave everybody wifi 10 years ago

      1. Yeah, but then Trump and Ajit Pai took it away from persons of color when they repealed net-neutrality.

        1. dicks! I have friends in Colby.

          1. Colby, KS… spent some time there. Pretty girl behind every tree.

    3. Our district gave out wifi hotspots to the low incomes.

  6. Most parents want their kids in schools so both parents can work (to pay for the mortgage/rent, utilities, food, clothing, etc).

    Millions of parents have quit their job in order to stay home with their child/children (because Democrats and Teacher’s Unions closed the schools, and require students to learn from home via Zoom).

    1. Most parents want their kids in schools so both parents can work (to pay for the mortgage/rent, utilities, food, clothing, etc).

      As I indicated above, slight disagreement. Most parents are fine working two jobs or fine working one job and educating their children (the other Reason article showed that, despite the ‘unemployment’ numbers family/spousal happiness has gone up). What most parents aren’t OK with is being forced to quit a job and/or set up a home office/school so they can manage their children and then, a couple months later, being forced to look for a job and/or tear down their home office/school because their kids are back in school.

      1. the other Reason article showed that, despite the ‘unemployment’ numbers family/spousal happiness has gone up

        Now survey the husbands this time.

        1. Both me and my husband have become much closer to one another throughout quarantine. Sure there have been more than a few arguments, and yes like most, it has been somewhat challenging getting used to kissing and sleeping with our masks on but in the end I think we’ve spent more time with our boys and grown closer than ever before.

          1. A+ well done

        2. Now survey the husbands this time.

          They did. All the respondants were swamped with work and wouldn’t be home until late this evening.

        3. the other Reason article showed that, despite the ‘unemployment’ numbers family/spousal happiness has gone up

          Now survey the husbands this time.

          The happiness has gone up with the divorce rate.

    2. Yeah but my taxes are not supposed to go to day care for other people’s kids. Even the so called public education system is not worth my money but I am forced to pay for it. If public school is just day care waiting out the years until they are adults then we have failed them utterly.

  7. How many of those satisfied with in-school but not remote are so only because they don’t understand what is happening in the schools?

    Well, that and having a babysitter.

    1. The customer is always right– except in the case of government services, of course, where the customer is always a prole who will be told what they like, good and hard.

  8. Obvious results are obvious.

    Home schooling is the way to go, but this is not home schooling, it’s the same old government schooling but done over Zoom. Home schooling works, but parents need to be free to do actual home schooling. As in groups of parents getting together to share the responsibility, forming pods, letting their kids interact with each other, etc. All that we’ve learned from this episode is that government style rote learning doesn’t work well online. Too many kids getting expelled for having a BB gun, too many kids going to jail for having bad network connections, etc.

    1. It Takes a Village Laptop with a Webcam.

    2. That’s what I think the main problem is. It’s like before, except now in addition to the children having to be in school, it’s like their parents have to go to school with them. And provide the facilities in duplication of what their taxes have already paid for. Want to work from home? Too bad, your child’s already tying up the terminal and connection; better buy another laptop and hope you’ve got enough bandwidth if you want to do both.

  9. Of course they are. With one, you get a break from your kids. The other, you’re stuck with them 24×7.

  10. We can only hope that this is the beginning of the end for the public school regime.

    1. Nah, this pandemic was a dry run for a New World Order in government power.

    2. Hopes high you are correct. Diane is likely closer to truth.

    3. Progressives blame public school failure (well, nearly every government failure outside of law enforcement) on not enough funding. Independents hold a much dimmer view of teachers unions, but they still favor increased spending on public education. So, I doubt it.

      1. Progressives hate private health care, demand a national system, and point out that the US spends more per person and gets mediocre results. But progressives love public education in the US, where we spend more per person and get mediocre results.

        They must know something I don’t.

    4. There’s a flaw in the theory.

      People embrace masks. So, no. They won’t support the dismantling of public education.

      There’s definitely some kind of agenda at play now. None of this makes sense anymore. Dr. Katz has realized dogma is driving things now; not science. Dr. Atlas has been given to cynicism.

      The reason and science are nowhere to be seen.

      That low life psychopath Fauci and his ilk (including Tam up here0 has the upper hand.

  11. I swear every time I see these pics of a child in a mask I want to punch someone in the face.

    1. What is wrong with you? Wait let me guess… Trump… Supporter…?
      The fact that a grown man would punch a child in the face for taking proper and proven safety precautions should frighten every human being to the core. I seriously hope you’re just trying to look tough in front of your friends.

      1. Check your reading skills. And your moral superiority.

      2. The fact that a commenter with your handle has reading comprehension of 5% should embarrass you to the core. I seriously hope you’re just trying to amuse your audience.

    2. Gotta work on your rage. Mask wearing started BEFORE the government mandated it. Rules require stores to require masks, but the overwhelming majority of stores would require masks anyway. Do you also rage over having to wear shoes and shirt to a bar? Do you also want to punch people in the face when you see a child wearing a seatbelt?

      Just because a store asks you to wear a mask does not give you the right to throw a tantrum and pee on the floor.

      1. Masks are not good or healthy for children.

        1. Ummm that is 100% wrong. My kids are healthy and wear masks all day every day.

          1. Yeah, but you aren’t a real person.

            1. Of course, the psycho-Trumper waltzes in and claims gays aren’t real people. Classic. Go back to 7th grade.

              1. You’re not gay either. Judging from your display so far, you’re a Cocker Spaniel that’s been fixed.

          2. I am sure they are androgynous and green, too. Perhaps someday they will act on the rage they are building up inside. Preferably on you.

            1. How DARE you wish that on them or me. For heaven’s sake, leave the children out of this, you animal.
              In the past week my sweet boys had to watch helplessly as their daddy (me) was brutally beaten by a psychotic mountain dew-fueled Trump supporter for no apparent reason. This is a messed up hate-filled country we live in. So you know what ‘Earth Skeptic’, I do hope they act on the rage they are building. I hope they act on that rage and take it out on a Trump supporter, specifically the hillbilly redneck who left me with a cervical fracture, broken nose and concussion.
              I wouldn’t be surprised if that bible-thumping mongoloid was a commenter here. If you’re reading this redneck, I hope you know the pain and tears you have caused this family. I’ll give you the chance to apologize and make things right, that is if you have the stones to say you’re sorry.
              You people, with the exception of the White Knight, Sarcasmic and my new friend Nardz make me sick. I’m literally swelling with rage right now. I need to log off before I say something I’ll regret.

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  15. I call BS on the parents. Most of those preferring in-person are doing so because they get a free babysitter out of it (or they work jobs where they can’t be home with their kids). Has little to do with actual education and more to do with convenience for parents.

    There are certainly some benefits to face-to-face education and social interaction, but I don’t want my kid getting psychologically conditioned by excessive authoritarian rules.

  16. Yeah, right.

    How much of this is parent just looking for free babysitting?

  17. Everyone brags about “science”. Science tells us to limit kids screen time to one to two hours a day, depending on age. Now we are supposed put kids on screens for 7 or 8 hours a day for schooling? So much for science!

    1. The screen time recommendation is about limiting certain passive or addictive activities, not limiting the amount of time you look at a screen. Learning via computer has never been a proscribed activity

  18. It’s no surprise half of the people love it. If you were to do a Venn diagram of these people against the population of clowns who put us in this mess it would overlap almost entirely.

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