A new telephone poll of parents in seven school districts suggests that most feel welcome at their schools and have the knowledge they need to support their children’s learning.
But when it comes to influencing school and district decisions, fewer than half believe they have those opportunities.
The pollsters questioned a representative sample of 2,051 parents in Seattle Public Schools and six districts in South King County about their relationships with their schools. The poll was sponsored by the Road Map Project, an effort to significantly increase the number of students who go to college.
The districts and community groups involved in the project want to work more closely with parents to help them reach that goal.
Researchers from the University of Washington who helped design the poll warned not to read too much into this first round of results. They think, for example, that most of the respondents may already be involved in their children’s schools, since that’s who probably would be willing to take part in a telephone survey.
To get a full picture “we need more data,” said Joe Lott, one of the researchers. Their report on the effort can be found here.
They plan to refine the questions for future polls, and continue to seek information in more ways than over the telephone.
But they also said the results do point to areas that should be examined further.
Just 37 percent of parents, for example, strongly agreed that they knew about community resources that could help their student. And about 20 percent said there were cultural barriers between staff and parents that were difficult to overcome.