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School Reopening National Survey by WalletHub: 55% of Parents Want In-Person Learning

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John S Kiernan, Managing Editor  •  Aug 11, 2020

(Kennedale News Note: This article does not represent the opinion of the KNews but is presented as part of a larger public discussion of how and when to re-open public schools)

Whether or not we should open schools for in-person learning this fall is a hotly-debated topic. It’s undeniable that schools form an essential part of our economy. In addition to educating our children and boosting their future economic opportunities, they also keep kids out of the home during the day, which allows parents to go to work. If schooling is held remotely, many parents will have to worry about child supervision, along with other concerns like providing meals during the day. In light of these concerns, WalletHub conducted a nationally representative WalletHub survey which found that 55 percent of parents in the U.S. want schools to meet in person this fall.

WalletHub’s survey examined Americans’ reasons for wanting schools to meet in person or continue remote learning, as well as their thoughts on teachers who conduct remote classes. Below are highlights from the survey, along with commentary from a panel of experts and a description of our methodology.

Key Stats

  • Some parents can’t stay home. 32 percent of parents are not able to work remotely.
  • Mixed feelings on teacher compensation. Almost 1 in 4 parents think that teachers who work remotely should either get paid less, work longer hours or give up vacation days.
  • Fathers want schools to open more. 31 percent more fathers than mothers want schools to reopen for in-person learning.
  • Politics impact reopening opinions. Two-thirds of conservative parents favor schools reopening, versus less than half of liberal parents.

Q&A with WalletHub

Are parents able to supervise their kids while working from home if schools hold remote learning?

“A significant share of parents, 32 percent, cannot work remotely. If schools hold remote learning this fall, this may create a difficult situation where some parents will have to choose between leaving their children unsupervised, paying extra for childcare or taking a leave from work,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Leaving children home alone might not be especially difficult for high schoolers, but is not an option for young kids.”

Do Americans think teachers who work remotely should be penalized?

“Almost 1 in 4 Americans think teachers who work remotely should be penalized by either getting paid less, working longer hours or giving up vacation time,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “It’s up to school districts and states, not teachers, whether schools reopen for in-person learning, so it makes sense that the vast majority of Americans don’t think teachers who work remotely should be treated any differently.”

Is there a difference between fathers and mothers when it comes to opinions on reopening schools?

“About 31 percent more fathers than mothers want schools to reopen for in-person learning this fall,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The divide between fathers and mothers may be partially explained by the fact that women currently make up a smaller percentage of the workforce than men and have been losing their jobs at a greater rate than men during the COVID-19 pandemic. More women than men may be able to at least temporarily supervise children at home.”

How do conservatives and liberals differ in their opinions on in-person learning?

“Two-thirds of conservative parents want to have in-person learning this fall, compared to less than half of liberal parents,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “This political divide lines up with what we see among elected officials. The Trump Administration is highly in favor of reopening schools, while Democrats tend to support extending remote learning until we see further reductions in infections.”

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the National Governors Association, Kaiser Family Foundation, Child Care Aware of America, Ballotpedia, National Conference of State Legislatures, American College of Radiology, American College of Surgeons, American Academy of Ophthalmology, the COVID Tracking Project, National Restaurant Association, Littler Mendelson, Portfolio Media, The National Academy for State Health Policy, Ogletree Deakins and news reports.

WalletHub is a personal finance website that was launched in early August 2013. It is based in Washington, D.C. and owned by Evolution Finance, Inc. According to Web reports, WalletHub initially positioned itself as a “personal finance social network” with a focus on reviews for financial advisors.

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