Schools with engaged parents more likely to receive an ‘A’ grade

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – November 14, 2013 – Schools and report cards are a natural fit in Americans’ minds, but we typically think of schools as the arbiters of grades – not as the recipients. But of course, schools are as much under the microscope as their students, with new national, statewide and local ratings released regularly. Parents’ own opinions of their children’s schools can be informed by any number of factors, but a new Harris Poll among parents of school aged (K-12) children reveals higher levels of parent satisfaction when the school adequately seeks out parent input.

    Overall, roughly six in ten (61%) parents of school aged children feel their child’s school seeks their opinions as a parent an adequate amount, while over a third (36%) say the school does not seek this as much as they’d like. Only 3% say their child’s school seeks their opinions more than they’d like. Looking deeper, these sentiments prove to be consistently and strongly tied to dramatic shifts in other feelings toward their children’s schools.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,027 adults (376 of whom have children in grades K-12) surveyed online between October 10 and 14, 2013 by Harris Interactive.

    When asked to give a letter grade to rate their overall satisfaction with their child’s school, parents who feel the school seeks their opinions an adequate amount are roughly twice as likely to grade that school in the ‘A Range’ (A or A-) (57%), compared to parents that say the school does not seek their opinion as much as they would like (with 29% grading the school an A or A-).

    Outreach also tied to stronger ratings on specific school measures

    Parental satisfaction with the school’s level of outreach is also tied to dramatically higher positive feedback on other school measures. Those parents who feel their child’s school adequately solicits their opinions are anywhere from 2.5 times to over 6 times as likely to show strong agreement with each measure, when compared to those whose children’s schools don’t reach out as much as they’d like:

    • Is trustworthy (56% and 17%, respectively).
    • Delivers on promises (53% and 11%, respectively).
    • Cares about the satisfaction of its employees (50% and 20%, respectively).
    • Cares about the satisfaction of its students (50% and 15%, respectively).
    • Values me as a parent (50% and 14%, respectively).
    • Cares about the satisfaction of its parents (51% and 8%, respectively).
    • Is open and honest about procedures and policies (57% and 21%, respectively).

    Parent satisfaction has important implications for schools and families. says Michelle Gosney, Sr. Research Manager at Harris Interactive, We have been measuring parent, teacher and student satisfaction across school districts in the United States for more than 20 years through the Harris Poll School Pulse SM and see that satisfied parents are more involved and supportive which makes both administrators’ and teachers’ jobs easier. Additionally, we know that satisfied students are better able to learn and satisfied employees are more productive. It is critically important for administrators to understand what drives their school satisfaction among these key stakeholder groups.

    Emergency preparedness

    With the national attention around school preparedness in the event of an in-school emergency, this same Harris Poll also gauged parent perceptions on this important topic. While it’s hoped that parents can reasonably expect their children to be safe in the school’s care, it’s reassuring to see that even in the case of unforeseen emergencies, majorities of parents with school aged children feel the school is completely or very prepared for a fire (75%, 95% at least somewhat prepared), natural/weather related events (69%, 95% at least somewhat prepared), a lock down or lock out event (67%, 93% at least somewhat prepared) or a bomb threat (59%, 85% at least somewhat prepared).

    Even in this highly specific aspect of school performance, parents who feel their opinions are adequately asked are more likely than others to feel their child’s school is completely or very prepared for two of the four emergency types tested:

    • Lock down or lock out event (73% adequately asked vs. 60% others).
    • Bomb threat (64% adequately asked vs. 51% others).

    For information regarding Harris Interactive’s Harris Poll School Pulse satisfaction management tool, please contact [email protected].

    To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

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    TABLE 1

    OVERALL SATISFACTION RATING FOR YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL

    By Grade Level of Child & Frequency With Which School Seeks Parental Opinions

    Now, thinking of your child in [GRADE], please give an overall satisfaction rating for your child’s school for this year.

    Base: U.S. adults with a child in grades K-12

    Total

    Grade Level of Child

    How Frequently School Seeks Your Opinions

    Elementary

    Secondary

    Not as much as I’d like

    An adequate amount

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    A- or better (NET)

    47

    53

    42

    29

    57

    10 – A rating

    25

    29

    21

    15

    29

    9 – A- rating

    22

    23

    21

    14

    28

    8 – B+ rating

    27

    24

    30

    30

    25

    7 – B rating

    8

    9

    7

    9

    7

    6 – B- rating

    6

    5

    7

    4

    7

    5 – C+ rating

    8

    8

    9

    17

    3

    4 – C rating

    1

     

    3

    4

     

    3 – C- rating

    2

    1

    2

    4

     

    2 – D+ rating

    1

     

    1

    2

     

    1 – D rating

     

    1

     

    1

     

    0 – F rating

    Mean numeric rating

    8.0

    8.3

    7.9

    7.2

    8.5

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

    indicates fewer than 0.5% selected this response.

    – indicates this response was selected by no one.

     

    TABLE 2a

    PERCEIVED PREPAREDNESS FOR EMERGENCIES

    Summary Table

    In your opinion, how prepared is your child’s school for each of the following emergency situations?

    Base: U.S. adults with a child in grades K-12

     

    At least somewhat prepared (NET)

    Completely or Very prepared (NET)

    Completely prepared

    Very prepared

    Somewhat prepared

    Not at all prepared

    Fire

    %

    95

    75

    33

    42

    20

    5

    Natural/Weather-related event (e.g., flooding, snow storm, hurricane, tornado, earthquake)

    %

    95

    69

    25

    44

    26

    5

    Lock down or lock out event (i.e., an intruder/other in or around the school property)

    %

    93

    67

    30

    37

    25

    7

    Bomb threat

    %

    85

    59

    24

    35

    26

    15

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding


    TABLE 2b

    PERCEIVED PREPAREDNESS FOR EMERGENCIES

    By Grade Level of Child & Frequency With Which School Seeks Parental Opinions

    In your opinion, how prepared is your child’s school for each of the following emergency situations?

    Base: U.S. adults with a child in grades K-12

    Total

    Grade Level of Child

    How Frequently School Seeks Your Opinions

    Elementary

    Secondary

    Not as much as I’d like

    An adequate amount

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Fire

    At least somewhat prepared

    95

    93

    97

    97

    95

    Completely/Very prepared

    75

    78

    73

    73

    77

    Natural/Weather-related event (e.g., flooding, snow storm, hurricane, tornado, earthquake)

    At least somewhat prepared

    95

    95

    94

    95

    94

    Completely/Very prepared

    69

    68

    70

    63

    72

    Lock down or lock out event (i.e., an intruder/other in or around the school property)

    At least somewhat prepared

    93

    90

    95

    88

    96

    Completely/Very prepared

    67

    67

    67

    60

    73

    Bomb threat

    At least somewhat prepared

    85

    83

    87

    82

    87

    Completely/Very prepared

    59

    59

    58

    51

    64

     

    TABLE 3a

    AGREEMENT WITH SPECIFIC SCHOOL RATING FACTORS

    Summary Table

    Still thinking of your child in [GRADE], how much do you agree or disagree with each of the following about your child’s school?

    Base: U.S. adults with a child in grades K-12

     

    Strongly/ Somewhat agree (NET)

    Strongly agree

    Somewhat agree

    Strongly/ Somewhat disagree (NET)

    Somewhat disagree

    Strongly disagree

    Offers opportunities for parents to express their opinions

    %

    85

    43

    42

    15

    10

    5

    Is trustworthy

    %

    85

    41

    43

    15

    12

    4

    Delivers on promises

    %

    84

    37

    47

    16

    12

    4

    Cares about the satisfaction of its employees

    %

    84

    39

    45

    16

    10

    7

    Cares about the satisfaction of its students

    %

    83

    38

    45

    17

    12

    5

    Values me as a parent

    %

    83

    37

    46

    17

    12

    6

    Cares about the satisfaction of its parents

    %

    82

    35

    47

    18

    13

    5

    Is open and honest about procedures and policies

    %

    80

    44

    36

    20

    14

    6

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding


    TABLE 3b

    AGREEMENT WITH SPECIFIC SCHOOL RATING FACTORS

    By Grade Level of Child & Frequency With Which School Seeks Parental Opinions

    In your opinion, how prepared is your child’s school for each of the following emergency situations?

    Base: U.S. adults with a child in grades K-12

    Total

    Grade Level of Child

    How Frequently School Seeks Your Opinions

    Elementary

    Secondary

    Not as much as I’d like

    An adequate amount

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Offers opportunities for parents to express their opinions

    Strongly/Somewhat agree

    85

    88

    82

    72

    92

    Strongly agree

    43

    48

    38

    19

    56

    Is trustworthy

    Strongly/Somewhat agree

    85

    88

    82

    76

    89

    Strongly agree

    41

    43

    40

    17

    56

    Delivers on promises

    Strongly/Somewhat agree

    84

    85

    83

    72

    91

    Strongly agree

    37

    43

    33

    11

    53

    Cares about the satisfaction of its employees

    Strongly/Somewhat agree

    84

    84

    83

    74

    89

    Strongly agree

    39

    42

    36

    20

    50

    Cares about the satisfaction of its students

    Strongly/Somewhat agree

    83

    85

    82

    70

    91

    Strongly agree

    38

    43

    33

    15

    50

    Values me as a parent

    Strongly/Somewhat agree

    83

    86

    80

    69

    90

    Strongly agree

    37

    40

    35

    14

    50

    Cares about the satisfaction of its parents

    Strongly/Somewhat agree

    82

    85

    79

    67

    91

    Strongly agree

    35

    39

    32

    8

    51

    Is open and honest about procedures and policies

    Strongly/Somewhat agree

    80

    84

    77

    63

    90

    Strongly agree

    44

    48

    40

    21

    57

     

    TABLE 4

    SATISFACTION WITH FREQUENCY OF CHILD’S SCHOOL SEEKING YOUR OPINIONS AS A PARENT

    By Grade Level of Child

    In general, how frequently does your child’s school seek your opinions as a parent?

    Base: U.S. adults with a child in grades K-12

    Total

    Grade Level of Child

    Elementary

    Secondary

    %

    %

    %

    Not as much as I’d like

    36

    30

    42

    An adequate amount

    61

    66

    57

    More than I’d like

    3

    4

    1

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding


    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 10 and 14, 2013 among 2,027 adults (aged 18 and over), 376 of whom have children in grades K-12. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    The Harris Poll® #83, November 14, 2013

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