National survey reveals greater need for online learning
Washington, DC, June 1, 2020 – A new national survey finds up to one in five students who were attending a brick and mortar traditional school in March of this year are unlikely to return this fall. This means approximately 10 million K-12 students will be displaced from classrooms and in need of online learning options.
The poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, surveyed 2,000 parents of children enrolled in brick and mortar schools in grades K-11 who are facing difficult decisions regarding the safety, continuity and effectiveness of their children’s education this fall.
According to the survey findings:
- More than two-thirds of parents are concerned about whether their child can safely return to their brick and mortar school in the fall.
- Nearly 60% of respondents said they believe their child is at risk of contracting COVID-19, with 66% reporting they or another adult member of their household may be at risk.
- 70% of respondents anticipate more school closures in the next school year.
Despite any preventative measures, a remarkable 21% of parents said they would not be comfortable with their child returning to their brick and mortar school, including 9% who said they are “not at all comfortable.”
Statement from Colleen Cook, Parent and President of the National Coalition for Public School Options:
“The survey confirms that many parents have the same apprehensions expressed by education leaders and public health experts. Parents are scared and worried about the health and safety of their children, and they believe it may be too risky to go back into the traditional brick and mortar schools this fall.
“We are on the edge of an educational crisis. In a matter of months, millions of children will not be returning to traditional classrooms, and our school systems are woefully unprepared. Now is the time to act. I urge policymakers at the federal and state level and on both sides of the aisle to come together and ensure that there are an adequate number of ‘online seats’ to meet the unprecedented demand for remote learning options.”
As the pandemic has forced traditional public and private schools to shift education away from the classroom, the survey reveals that parents view online classes as a viable alternative to returning to a brick and mortar school:
- Over 80% of respondents reported that they were satisfied with the transition their child made to online learning when their brick and mortar school closed in March.
- Over 40% of brick and mortar parents responded that they would consider continuing online learning for their student next year.
Despite the benefits online learning presents when brick and mortar parents are questioning the safety of the traditional school model, many states have artificial barriers in place that limit enrollment in online schools.
Among brick and mortar parents, there was widespread support for a series of policy solutions that would create greater access to online classrooms this fall, including:
- 96% support requiring every school to have an emergency backup plan to switch to online learning if schools are forced to close again.
- 72% believe that adequate government funding must be provided for school districts to work with online education providers to develop online learning plans should schools be forced to close again in the future.
- 71% support lifting state enrollment caps on online schools to meet excess demand.
The survey sampled 2,000 parents of children in brick and mortar schools grades K-11. The survey was conducted May 11-17, 2020 by Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of the National Coalition for Public School Options. The survey has a margin of error of ±2.50%.