Poll: Mixed Views on Mass. Schools' Pandemic Performance

A new poll shows 16% of Massachusetts parents believe their children’s education was inadequate enough that they would consider having them repeat the grade

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A majority of parents felt their children's education was compromised during the pandemic due to remote learning, according to a new poll.

“Massachusetts residents have not been satisfied with the remote learning Massachusetts schools are providing during the pandemic,” Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios said. “And they place a fair amount of the blame on the shoulders of both school districts and teachers’ unions.”



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In a Pioneer Institute poll released Sunday night, 1,500 Massachusetts residents were asked to rate the impact on a scale of one to 10. More than half - 54% - said education had been compromised at a level of seven or higher.

Conducted between March 19 and 21 by Emerson College Polling, 16% of parents said their children’s education was inadequate enough that they would consider having them repeat the grade. Another 58% said it was adequate enough to advance, while the remaining 26% were unsure.

A senior fellow at the Pioneer Institute broke down those number down a little further.

"That depended a lot on how much time was synchronous," Pioneer Institute Senior Fellow Charles Chieppo said. "For kids who had most of their time synchronous - only 9% of parents thought they might not be ready to move up. But for those who were asynchronous, 34% thought they might not be ready to move on to next grade."

Approximately 42% of parents who responded to the poll reported having at least one child learning fully remotely at this time.

Parents of children receiving special education services have been generally satisfied during the pandemic - 38% said the services have been somewhat adequate and 26% said it has been very adequate.

The poll also found that state residents believed teachers’ unions haven’t acted in the best interests of children during the pandemic by a 45 percent to 39% margin. Among parents who don’t work in the schools, 49% said the unions have not acted in the best interest of children, compared to 37% who believe they have.

When asked to rate teachers’ union involvement in decisions to teach remotely on the same scale, with 10 being the most involved, 31% rated union involvement a 10. Those living in Boston were more likely to rank higher on union involvement.

The majority of students in kindergarten through fifth grade in Massachusetts returned to in-person learning last week as part of the plan outlined by the state's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The state approved waivers for dozens of districts that aren't ready to return full-time and parents may still opt to have their kids learn remotely for the remainder of the school year.

Boston Public Schools is among those districts. Boston received state approval to delay the return to full-time in person learning for K-8 students until April 26, at the Superintendent's request. Until then, students continue on their current learning model.

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