Parents in Massachusetts have high hopes for their children now that classes are back in person, according to a new survey.
More than half of respondents to MassInc Polling Group's survey said they believe their child is already performing at grade level. Of those, a third expect their performance to improve by the end of the year.
The return to school buildings was a big driver of parent optimism, according to the survey. In the survey's open-ended response section, some participants said that socialization and supportive in-person learning environments have helped the most.
"Socialization has been a really big part of the story during the pandemic," said Maeve Duggan, a research director at the MassINC Polling Group. "In the early days, parents mentioned that it was lacking. And now I think part of what’s giving parents so much optimism and high expectations is this return to socialization."
The responses received also suggest that there might be some communication gaps between schools and parents. Among parents who felt their kids were behind grade level, only 57% said that their school had one-on-one tutoring. And 64% said they were aware of school-provided materials that they could use at home with their child.
Parents also want more information about how their kids' schools will spend federal COVID-19 recovery finds. Only 20% of parents surveyed said they knew how the school district planned to spend the money.
Asked how they wanted the federal funds spent, 36% of respondents said they hoped the money would help schools incorporate mental health awareness into daily curriculum and 26% wanted to see more mental health screenings available to students.
The report also showed that a significant number of parents are hesitant to vaccinate their children. About 1 in 3 respondents said they don't plan to vaccinate their children or remain unsure.
"The closer you get to Boston the more likely parents are to say that when their kid can get vaccinated, they’re going to get them the shot," added Duggan.
The MassINC survey was the fifth in a series that began last summer. The results are based on a statewide survey of 1,479 Massachusetts residents with school-aged kids. It was conducted over the phone in English and Spanish between Oct. 18 and Nov. 2.
This segment aired on November 17, 2021. The audio for this segment is not available.