Academic Minute Podcast

Morgan Polikoff, University of Southern California – Why Aren’t Parents as Worried as Experts about COVID’s Effects on Kids?

Why aren’t parents as worried as experts about COVID’S effect on children?

Morgan Polikoff, professor of education at the University of Southern California, reads up to find out.

Morgan Polikoff is a professor of education at USC Rossier School of Education and Co-Director of USC EdPolicy Hub.

Why Aren’t Parents as Worried as Experts about COVID’s Effects on Kids?

Research has shown that student achievement was harmed by COVID, and that children are behind relative to pre-pandemic trends. Educational experts have expressed a great deal of concern about these impacts, but surveys of parents have generally shown much less concern about how kids are doing post-COVID. We wanted to understand whether this so-called “parent-expert disconnect” is a real phenomenon and to identify its main causes.

To answer this question, we interviewed 40 randomly chosen parents drawn from a representative survey sample we have been studying during COVID. We indeed found relatively low levels of concern about children’s wellbeing, even among parents who had indicated concern on surveys.

We uncovered four main reasons for this parent-expert disconnect. First, though standardized tests are what experts use to highlight the effects of COVID on children, parents in our sample virtually never mentioned standardized tests. Instead of tests, parents report relying on grades, teacher reports, or their own perceptions of children’s performance. Second, parents reported that expectations for student learning had been lowered since COVID, perhaps resulting in them receiving less clear signals about how their children were really doing. Third, parents simply believe that children are resilient and will bounce back if they haven’t already. And fourth, parents did report concerns about COVID’s effects, but often for demographically different children or for children in other kinds of schools than their own. This perhaps explains why parents are concerned about the broader learning loss phenomenon, even if not for their own children.

Kids have been harmed by the COVID pandemic—we have a long way to go to get them back on track.

Read More:
[Amazon] – Beyond Standards: The Fragmentation of Education Governance and the Promise of Curriculum Reform

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