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Surveys of Chicago Parents About Schooling in the Pandemic

Young girl sitting with her mother on their living room sofa and watching something on a laptop
Surveying Chicago parents about their child’s learning experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Client
    Kids First Chicago
  • Dates
    September 2020 - August 2021

NORC at the University of Chicago administered two surveys to learn how parents with children in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) experienced remote and hybrid learning during the 2020-2021 school year.

Kids First Chicago sought to continue its series Parent-led Solutions to Education Recovery by reaching out to NORC to design and administer two waves of surveys of parents about their child’s learning experiences during the pandemic. The survey results were intended to help identify areas of support for students and target interventions.

This project highlighted how parents’ relationships to remote learning during the 2020-2021 school year were more complex than they initially appeared. Many parents were satisfied with multiple aspects of their child’s remote learning experiences. Despite CPS’s announcement that children would be entirely in-person for the 2021-2022 school year, only four in 10 parents said they would prefer entirely in-person learning over hybrid or fully remote options during the pandemic.

In the second wave of the survey, 75% of parents were moderately or very satisfied with the quality of their child’s education (compared with 64 percent in the first wave), and 88% reported that their child’s teacher(s) or other school staff were available when help was needed.

Other key findings included:

  • 90% of parents wanted the varying modes of communication they had with teachers during the pandemic (e.g., emails, Class Dojo) to continue,
  • 88% percent wanted the frequency of electronic communication with teachers to continue,
  • 82% wanted virtual parent-teacher meetings to continue,
  • 33% were moderately or extremely concerned about their child’s mental health and social-emotional well-being, and
  • 37% were moderately or extremely concerned about their child’s peer relationships.

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