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Results of Parents' Survey, August 2009

 

In Summer of 2009, shortly after launching a survey of Principals (click here for results) across the country, we decided we'd do a similar survey asking parents about their concerns or issues related to their children's schools.  We thought it was important to get the parents' perspectives of what's going on in their schools at the same time we asked the Principals to share their concerns.

The questions we asked were based on the original three questions in the Principal's Survey, but included four additional specifically geared to the interest areas of parents:

  1. What are some of the challenges you face in your school (check all that apply).  Also, a write-in box was provided for custom responses.
  2. Of the challenges above, which is your BIGGEST concern?
  3. If your school could get help with any of the following, would it be valuable to you?  Again, this was a "check all that apply" type of question.
  4. If you had to pay an extra cost for such programs, what would you be comfortable paying? This question offered amounts from a low of $10/year up to $60/year with a write in for additional response.
  5. If you were able, would you be willing to pay a higher amount than necessary to help fund those students whose parents are unable to pay?
  6. If the answer to the previous question is "Yes," how much more would you be willing to pay?
  7. For the extra cost, how would you like to be billed?

The results we saw were very interesting -- frankly even surprising --  and revealed a part of the picture that's not being portrayed in the media and in "experts" journals. More importantly, it also sheds light on what parents are willing to do to see improvement in their children's schools. See below for charts and data for each of the questions in the survey.

Overall Conclusions

  1. While parents have many and varied concerns about their children's schools, by and large school discipline and bullying were THE #1 worry.
  2. Parents would value programs that can help with these and other issues, to the point of being willing to help step in and subsidize funding for these programs in schools.
  3. Most parents are not only willing to pay $50-60 per school year for their own costs, they are generally willing to pay more than their own share to help cover costs of other parents who may not be able to contribute as much or at all. This can help get a program adopted in a school when they indicate they can't fund these types of programs.

 

 

Question #1: What are some of the challenges you face in your school?

 

 

Question #2: Of the challenges above, which is your BIGGEST concern?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the results above, you can see bullying is the #1 concern of parents, by far.  If you add a related category, Classroom and Schoolyard Discipline to this, a full 55% of parents are worried about issues of discipline and bullying in their children's schools.

For those who answered "other," the primary concern was school staffing.

 

 

 

Question #3: If your school could get help with any of the following, would it be valuable to you?
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The majority of the responses indicate parents would value programs that would help schools improve climate and create productive learning enviroments, decrease discipline issues, and reduce or eliminate bullying. Increasing academic achievement also ranked high. These are all areas in which a well-designed social skills program can help.

 

Questions 4, 5, 6 and 7 dealt with asking parents about their willingness to help fund effective social skills programs and how much they'd be willing to help support them financially.

Question #4: If you had to pay an extra cost for such programs, what would you be comfortable paying?

 

Answer  
$60/year ($6/month) 56%
$50/year ($5/month) 11%
$40/year ($4/month) 6%
$30/year ($3/month) 6%
$20/year ($2/month) 0%
$10/year ($1/month) 6%
$0 11%
Other $ 4%

By far the biggest response was in the $60/year (or $6/month for an average school calendar year of 10 months) to help support an effective social skills program.  Two-thirds of respondents (67%) were comfortable paying $50-60/year to help their schools fund such courses.

Question #5: If you were able, would you be willing to pay a higher amount than necessary to help fund those students whose parents are unable to pay?

Yes 74%
No 26%

For the respondents answering "$0" in question #4, or who indicated they would not pay a higher amount than their share for such programs, their rationale was that they believed schools should already be paying for programs like this and they didn't feel they should be supplementing that funding.

 

Question #6: If the answer to the previous question is "Yes," how much more would you be willing to pay?

Here the responses were interesting. 

Most respondents indicated they would be willing to pay approximately twice their share ($40-60) to help cover costs for others who could not afford to pay.

The average amount respondents were willing to pay above their share was $100.

The highest extra amount offered was $500 over their share, and responses of $250 over share were also recorded.

Question #7: For the extra amount you would prefer to be billed...? 

 

Annually, all at once 44%
Quarterly 17%
By Semester/Trimester 6%
Monthly 17%
Other 16%

 

 

 

More info: Parent's Survey:

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