Wednesday, April 30, 2008

NSBA Releases In-Depth Research Study on Parent Views of Urban School Climate

To check out the full report: "What We Think" -Patricia

The NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education
Releases In-Depth Research Study on Parent Views of Urban School Climate

Alexandria, Va. – April 30 – The National School Boards Association’s Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) released findings today of a major research study, What We Think, which surveyed how parents feel about their urban school environments. This survey is a followup to two previous school climate surveys by CUBE, Where We Learn, which surveyed how students feel about their urban school climate, and Where We Teach, which surveyed teachers and administrators. The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) collaborated on the study’s recommendations.

Dr. Brian K. Perkins, principal investigator and Professor of Education Law and Policy of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Southern Connecticut State University, conducted the survey which examined the responses of 10,270 parents in 112 urban schools from 17 states. The survey questions gauge parent perceptions about bullying; expectations of student success; influence of race; parental involvement; safety; and trust, respect, and ethos of caring. Particularly striking was the number of male parents participating, nearly 30 percent of the respondents.

“The results of this study, as well as the two previous studies, emphasize the importance school climate plays in our children’s education,” Perkins said. “The affective dimension of the school day is just as important as the cognitive/academic dimension.”

“NSBA has made it a priority to understand school climate, especially in urban school districts,” NSBA Executive Director Anne Bryant said. “The results of this report are extremely encouraging, with such a strong and positive response from parents, because their engagement in the schools is critical to student achievement and success.”

Warlene Gary, chief executive officer of the PTA national organization, noted, “This project helps to underscore the critical link between the parents, the school, and student achievement. PTA has worked to develop National Standards for Family-School Partnerships to specifically reinforce what parents, schools, and communities can do together to support student success. It is essential that all elements of the community are invested and aware of what is going on in our schools.”


• Parents believe their child’s school to be a safe place. The majority of parents surveyed viewed their child’s school as a safe place. However, only 42 percent of parents surveyed disagreed that students fight at lot at school. Forty percent of parents were not sure about safety levels when asked about students carrying guns or knives to school.

• Parent views vary about the degree of safety in their neighborhoods. The majority of parents (49%) indicated that there had not been violent crimes within their immediate neighborhoods in the past six months, while a quarter of them indicated that there had been.

• The majority of parents are actively involved in their child’s school. Three quarters of parents agreed that they visited their child’s school to support activities.

• Parents’ believe that their children can achieve and are proud of their accomplishments. The vast majority of parents agreed that their children were capable of performing very well on standardized exams. Additionally, the majority of parents agreed that their children would pursue opportunities in higher education at the community college or university level. Ninety-seven percent of parents were proud of their children.

• Teachers and administrators have gained parents’ trust and make them feel respected. The majority of parents (84%) felt that they could trust the teachers at their child’s school. The majority (87%) also felt respected by the teachers. Parents agreed that they felt respected by administrators at their child’s school (83%).

• Bullying continues to be an issue at school. Little more than half of the parents surveyed felt that teachers had the ability to stop bullying; with close to 30 percent not sure if this was possible. More than 25 percent of parents have spoken to an administrator about bullying. Parents with students in the middle grades (6-8) were the largest group (nearly 11 percent) to report that their child was bullied during the school day at least once per month.

• Racial differences are not viewed to have an impact on a child’s success at school. Race is not a factor in the success of children in their child’s school, according to the majority of parents of urban school children (70%).

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