PEFNC releases NC parent survey on distance learning, school reopenings

PEFNC releases comprehensive survey of NC parent attitudes on distance learning, school reopenings for 2020-2021 school year during COVID-19 pandemic

Parents are evenly split on return to in-person school vs. online or hybrid, while 93% are more inclined to support school choice policies during the pandemic

Raleigh (July 20, 2020) – Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), the state’s leading school-choice advocacy organization, has released the results of a new survey of 835 NC parents on their experience with distance learning—plus their comfort level with returning to school this year—during the COVID-19 pandemic. See a summary of the data or download the full report.

“COVID-19 has upended education as we know it in North Carolina, and school leaders, teachers, students, and families have borne the weight of these impacts,” said PEFNC president Mike Long. “As an organization who exists to serve families, our goal with this survey was to better understand how the transition from classroom-based learning to a remote environment is affecting NC families. Our mission is to come alongside parents and empower them to make the best educational choices for their child, whether that is by enrolling them in a traditional public school, a public charter school, a private school, a virtual academy, or educating them at home.”

Key results from the survey include:

  • Respondents were evenly split on whether their child should be allowed to return to the classroom: 36% prefer online only, 34% hybrid, and 30% a return to in-person instruction.

  • 94% feel more inclined to support policies expanding school choice during the coronavirus crisis.

  • Almost half of parents reported managing their child’s learning at home as difficult (45%). Another large segment reported it as easy (32%).

  • Most parents felt that their school’s administration was somewhat prepared for the transition (44%) and that they were somewhat prepared as a parent for the transition (43%). 

  • When compared across school makes and models, private school parents at 81% had the most confidence in their school administration followed by public charter (65%) and traditional public (60%).

  • When asked which leader/representative they thought had the largest decision-making authority or impact on their child’s education, a majority responded with Gov. Roy Cooper (56%). The least number of participants felt that state representatives (2%) and town/city leaders (2%) impacted this experience.

  • Almost half of participants reported their biggest concern was the school being unable to provide extra-curricular and after-school activities/events (48%), followed by a concern that their school has had difficulty implementing instructional programs that continue to support their child’s ability to learn (31%) and having to work so they can’t provide additional help (30%).

  • 67% of respondents believe North Carolina gives them the opportunity of school choice, and 32% plan to consider different educational options as a result of the pandemic. When asked if they had a choice for the coming school year if they could choose a new type of school, the only option that saw a positive increase in support, across the board, was home school.

The survey was of parents of students in a variety of school settings—including traditional public, public charter, private, and home schools—and across the spectrum of grades K-12. all statistical breakdowns in our report shed light on survey answers from the entire group, as well as segmented by school type.