Poll highlights Tennessee parents' concerns about learning loss

Posted at 1:06 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 14:06:35-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new poll shows Tennessee parents are concerned that students fell behind during the pandemic.

The poll is by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education. It was done over the phone for five days with a sample of 500 voters and 300 public school parents in the state.

According to the release from SCORE, nearly eight out of 10 parents think students started behind academically for the school year.

When it came to their own children 45% thought their own kids fell behind when it comes to academics.

These concerns are not new. SCORE's President and CEO David Manouri said they first saw parent and voter concerns last October. Manouri mentioned those have not gone away during the new school year.

"Parents have a unique perspective on their children’s progress, and many of them are saying the pandemic disruptions to classroom time have been harmful to learning," Manouri said.

SCORE's release said Tennessee needs to make the most of opportunities to accelerate learning due to the concerns and recent TCAP results.

There was still support for statewide standardized parents outlined in the polling.

"This year nearly nine out of 10 voters and parents (88%) said they support statewide testing, and 60% of voters and parents said they strongly support statewide testing," the release said.

The poll did show some concerns from the parents and voters about college and career readiness.

As an example, 59% said high school grads are not prepared for college and 62% are not prepared for a job, the release said.

When it comes to funding, 65% of voters and 71% of parents think public schools do not get enough.

"In answer to another question about the source of school funds, 79% of voters and 86% of parents said they would support the state increasing the funding it provides for K-12 public education," the release said.

There were some silver linings in the poll. More than three-fourths of parents say the school year is going well. According to SCORE, 69% said their kids feel safe going to school in-person.