Most parents satisfied with pandemic schooling

Published 10:33 am Thursday, December 24, 2020

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As families, teachers and school officials cope with whether to hold classes in person or online, 64% of Virginia parents say they are satisfied with how their child’s classes are being handled during the pandemic, according to a survey released recently by the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University.

However, 75% say they are concerned about their children falling behind in school.

“Parents are juggling work, caregiving responsibilities, and helping their kids through virtual school,” Wason Center Research Director Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo said.  “Most may believe their school systems are doing the best they can, but it’s no surprise that so many are worried about their children’s progress.”

Most parents in the survey said their children are receiving online instruction only (56%), while 27% are in a hybrid model of instruction, 12% are receiving in-person instruction only, and 3% are being homeschooled.

In a sample of a Wason Center issues survey to be released in connection with the 2021 session of the General Assembly, voters were also asked whether public employees should be given the right to bargain collectively.  A strong majority (68%) support or strongly support that policy, while 25% are opposed or strongly opposed.  A law passed in the 2020 session allows, but does not require, cities, counties, towns and school boards to authorize collective bargaining for local employees, beginning in May. It does not apply to state employees.

Asked to assess the direction of the country, Virginia voters showed a marked shift compared to responses before the Nov. 3 election. In the Wason Center’s September survey, voters strongly disapproved of the country’s direction (76%-16%). More voters still say the country is headed in the wrong direction, but by a far smaller margin (49%-39%). The difference is almost entirely due to responses from Democrats, whose “wrong direction” assessment went from 97% to 22% after the election.

Voters were evenly divided about the direction of the state, with 48% saying Virginia is headed in the right direction and 47% saying it’s going in the wrong direction. Voters’ assessment of Gov. Ralph Northam’s job performance was likewise evenly split, with 47% approval and 46% disapproval.

The Wason Center interviewed 906 registered Virginia voters on cell phone and landline, November 8-22. The margin of error for the whole survey is +/-4.7%.