New Poll:

Parents Worried About Whether Kids Are Prepared For Next Grade Level


Half of surveyed parents don’t know what types of educational activities schools might be planning to offer this summer to help students prepare for next year

Majority of parents want both in-person and at-home online learning options to be provided for next year

Boston, MA (May 4, 2021) — A new poll released today by the National Parents Union, an education advocacy organization, found that a majority of parents (66%) are concerned about their kids staying on track for the next grade level. Meanwhile, 50% of parents said their child’s school has not yet informed them about educational activities they might be planning to offer this summer to help students prepare for next year.

The poll also found that the majority of parents value having a choice between in-person and remote with 58% saying they want both options to be provided next year.

“Parents are expressing very real concerns about whether their child is prepared for the next grade level, and yet, it seems like schools aren’t doing enough to communicate with families about summer enrichment options. This is a trend we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic, school leaders not being responsive to the questions and concerns that families have. I wish I was surprised,” said Keri Rodrigues, co-founder and president of the National Parents Union. “I find it very interesting, and perhaps the start of reimagining education beyond the four walls of a school, that the majority of parents want both in-person and remote options for next year. Understandably, we are still worried about the health and safety of our children as it relates to COVID, but in talking to many parents across the country, they want to keep control . Parents are their own childrens’ most effective watchdog and schools will need to adapt to the evolving needs that families have.”

Although the majority of parents (62%) approve of President Biden’s handling of the reopening of schools for in-person learning, the poll found a sharp partisan divide between parents who identify as Republican vs. parents who identify as Democrat on in-person vs. remote learning priorities. 62% of Republican parents prioritize trying to get public school students back into the classroom this school year and implementing health and safety measures, compared to 43% of Democratic parents.

The poll also found strong partisan lines among parents when it comes to vaccination requirements. 54% of Democratic parents vs. 25% of Republican parents are likely to support vaccination requirements for students. Overall, 51% of parents are more likely to say COVID-19 vaccinations should be required for teachers and staff than for students.

When asked about what their child needs to be prepared for the next school year, parents highlight more school support:

  • 43% of those who feel their child is learning less than normal say they will need additional activities or help;
  • 4 in 10 parents of a child with a disability say they will need additional educational activities or help;
  • 3 in 10 say their child will need more than what their school is providing this summer to be prepared for next year;

The most popular educational activities this summer to help students prepare

for the next school year:

  • Online summer classes (35%);
  • Online educational activities other than classes (35%);
  • One-one-one online tutoring sessions (31%);

Parents are the least positive about schools providing the following resources:

  • Providing resources to support students’ mental health and emotional wellbeing (30%);
  • Providing personalized learning to meet your child’s needs (28%);
  • Managing online learning programs or resources for remote learning (26%);

Although the majority– 55%– of parents continues to want schools focused on rethinking how to educate students, frustration is growing among all parents and a greater cohort (39%) believes schools should be focused on trying to get back to the way things were before the COVID-19 crisis as soon as it is safe to do so.

Full toplines and crosstabs can be found here:

April 9-22, 2021

1,151 parents of K-12 public school students