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Poll of LAUSD parents shows catching up on lost classroom instruction top priority

Bryan Sarabia | March 28, 2023

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Los Angeles parents demanded higher quality education for their children in the third year of pandemic learning, with an emphasis on recovering social-emotional and academic learning skills.

In a poll conducted in the 2021-22 school year by GPSN and the Loyola Marymount University Center for Equity for English Learners, parents expressed the need to close learning gaps caused by the pandemic with access to high quality tutoring and emotional enrichment programs. 

The poll — first conducted by GSPN on 500 LAUSD families in the 2020-21 school year — indicates the majority of Black families were not committed to keeping their students enrolled in L.A. Unified schools. 

Parents said they wanted expanded summer school instruction, more college/CTE courses and better access to high-quality tutoring programs.

“This year’s poll was an opportunity to revisit the goal of strengthening their influence on the decisions our educational leaders make about the future of students and Los Angeles schools,” the report stated. “We dove back into questions we asked the previous year to see how families’ perspectives changed after returning for a full year of in-person learning during the ongoing pandemic.”

Here are five key findings from the report:

1. Parents showed increasing support for social-emotional learning:

After a full year of pandemic learning, 47% of families reported wanting tools to meet students’ emotional and mental health needs. Last year, just 26% of families expressed interest in social-emotional learning tools.


2. Families of color were less likely to report having access to individualized tutoring and more likely to want more tutoring:

Only 59% of families of color report having access to individualized tutoring, 18 percentage points lower than white families. Additionally, 27% of white families and an overwhelming 73% of families of color report wanting to see one-on-one tutoring provided at their school. 


3. Black parents were less committed than other parents to keeping their kids enrolled in LA Unified schools:

When asked whether they planned to keep their children in Los Angeles Unified schools longer term, 82% of families said they were very or extremely likely to stay in the district. But there are slight differences when families of different groups are asked this question: compared to 90% of white families, only 67% of Black families were committed to staying. This news comes after LAUSD reported decreasing enrollment in its campuses, losing students who moved out of state because of the rising cost of living in California; and students switching to non-LAUSD schools with looser COVID restrictions. 


4. Transparency on curriculum is a priority:

Across families of different income levels and racial backgrounds, there was a 22 percentage point increase in the number of families that want more access to information on what is being taught in their schools and a 13 percentage point increase in the number of families that want to see information on their child’s access and progress on grade-level, high quality curriculum. 


5. New Superintendent Alberto Carvalho needs to be held accountable and be evaluated:

91% of families agree the superintendent should be evaluated on the new strategic plan. The plan prioritizes providing students with the support, knowledge, and skills to reach their full academic potential, graduate college and be career ready. 


This article is part of a collaboration between The 74 and the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.

Bryan Sarabia is a junior at the University of Southern California, originally from Houston, Texas. He is majoring in journalism and Spanish.

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