Ahead Of New School Year, Over Half Of Parents Express Lack Of Confidence In Preparedness

July 20, 2020

Today, Senator Brad Hoylman announced the results of his COVID-19 Public Education Survey, a snapshot questionnaire completed by more than 800 public school parents.

More than half of parents—53.2 percent—expressed a lack of confidence in the preparedness of the NYC Department of Education to meet the needs of their children in the upcoming school year, reporting frustrations with last year’s remote learning experience and difficulties obtaining adequate support for students with IEPs.

Senator Hoylman said: “Every student in New York City deserves a top-notch education, no matter their zip code — especially during a pandemic. Educating our kids while keeping them safe from COVID-19 is a complex and immensely difficult task—and our public school teachers and education administrators and staff deserve a great deal of credit adapting to these difficult times. Parents noted many individual teachers and administrators who went “above and beyond,” checking in one-on-one with students and parents, and creating individualized learning plans for struggling students. I’m grateful to the hundreds of fellow parents who took the time to fill out this survey, also. I hope to use these snapshot survey results as I work with my colleagues and school leaders on ways to improve learning for all students.”

More than 800 public school parents from the 27th Senate District filled out Senator Hoylman’s COVID-19 Public Education Survey between June 10 and July 7, 2020. Key findings include:

  • 53.2% of parents expressed a lack of confidence in the preparedness of the Department of Education for the upcoming school year. On a scale of 1 – 5, 32.2% of parents responded with a 1, 21% with a 2%, and 24.7% with a 3. Only 11.3% responded with a 4 and 10.7% with a 5.

  • 51% of parents said their child’s experience with remote learning was “poor,” while only 19.6% of parents said their experience was “good” or “excellent”

  • 65.37% of parents of children with IEPs reported a negative experience with remote learning; many said the Department of Education did not provide enough support for their child

  • 69.6% of parents were “extremely concerned” or “quite concerned” about their child’s emotional well-being during the remote learning period

  • 55.8% of parents are spending more than two hours per day helping their child with remote learning; 22.7% of parents are spending more than five hours per day helping their child with remote learning

  • 40.4% of parents say their child was taught primarily through pre-recorded videos, not live classes

  • 18.4% of parents were unaware that the Department of Education is lending internet-enabled iPads to students in need

Parents were also given the ability to submit written comments about their child’s experience last year and their concerns about the future. Submissions include:

  • “The reason New York got its curve down is from intense, attentive social distancing, hygiene, and mask wearing. I’m not convinced that children will do this at school. Asking a teacher to have to monitor this in addition to the other demands they have is not fair, and frankly probably not realistic. We need our kids to keep learning, but we need to keep the pandemic under control.”
  • “I am very concerned about the possibility of remote learning for fall. Both my children are bright, curious kids who love school, and both extremely disliked the remote learning experience provided by their school. The principal and teachers are generally wonderful and designed some really nice materials, AND the school appears to have devoted a lot of time and care to the lessons. Which in a way is sad, because remote learning did not work for so many families.”
  • “I’m concerned that the disparity in education/inequities stemming from the failure of the DOE to meet the needs of children..is creating a desperation amongst families to vie for high-performing/sufficiently supported schools.”
  • “If a remote model is included it must be improved upon.  All students are behind as it is.”
  • “[My Principal] has been EXTRAORDINARY. She immediately created a schedule for middle school learners to ensure students remained engaged in all subjects, she effectively and PROACTIVELY communicated with parents (and so clearly!), she created a novel afterschool virtual enrichment program…and has stayed visible, active and in communication and in partnership with students and parents!”
  • [My son’s teacher] has been incredibly supportive, positive and adjusted so well to online teaching and support. He’s offered one on one [assistance] and always been available to our family and his kindness and enthusiasm and happy smiley face has made this so much easier to cope with. He has been brilliant.”

Click here to read the questions asked in Senator Hoylman’s COVID-19 Public Education Survey.

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