ERIC Number: ED400079
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
What Parents Want: A Report on Parents' Opinions about Public Schools.
This review of current research on parents' opinions about public schools provides information of interest to school boards, administrators, and parent leaders who wish to develop parent-community-school partnerships. This article discusses research done by organizations like the Public Agenda Foundation, the Gallup Poll, Phi Delta Kappa, and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), based on surveys and focus groups from national samples, and by researchers and educators experienced in working with parents. Parents want children to learn academic content, but are equally concerned with work habits, preparation for the workplace, maintaining discipline, and citizenship skills. They support community use of school buildings, including locating social services in the schools. They are willing to invest increased financial resources to improve education and increasingly support lengthening the school year but not the school day. Parents also strongly support extracurricular activities, with a majority favoring community service requirements for graduation. Although parents believe that public schools are superior in supporting diversity and providing special education, they rate private schools higher for promoting religious and social values; maintaining discipline, safety, and higher academic standards; and having smaller class sizes. Parents recommend higher standards and more difficult work at all levels to improve educational outcomes. They favor administrative reductions and user fees for athletic and band programs, and oppose cutting extracurricular activities, salaries, or teaching staff. Favored reform strategies include school choice, site-based management, and charter schools. The views of conservative parents are less extreme than those of the groups who claim to represent them, and a large number of parents are actively involved in their children's education, holding high expectations, monitoring them, and helping them with homework. Most say they need better information to remain involved across the school years. (Contains 35 references.) (KDFB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Parents; Administrators
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center on Families, Communities, Schools, and Children's Learning.