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Study: Public schools aren’t participating in family/community engagement

Stephon Johnson | 12/7/2017, 6:06 p.m.
A new study conducted by Rice University suggests that “family and community engagement” were the biggest drivers of a parent’s ...
classroom/education Pexels

A new study conducted by Rice University suggests that “family and community engagement” were the biggest drivers of a parent’s satisfaction with their child’s school.

The results come from the inaugural 2017 Collaborative for Customer-Based Execution and Strategy Benchmark K-12 School Study conducted via a national representative online survey of 7,259 parents. The goal of the study, with a margin of error plus or minus 1 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence, is to provide an evidence-based approach to add in stakeholder input to strategic planning and execution for public schools. Parents who participated in Rice’s survey rated satisfaction with their children’s schools and weighed in on the drivers of said satisfaction.

Based on the study’s assessment of overall satisfaction, 43 percent of parents in public schools were “very satisfied” with their child’s service, 61 percent of the parents in private school were “very satisfied” and 56 percent of the parents in charter schools were “very satisfied.” When it came to public and charter schools, the survey showed that family and community engagement was the largest driver of overall satisfaction among parents. With private schools, family and community engagement was the third-most important factor in overall satisfaction. Teachers and safety came first.

The disparities between the schools prove similar when it came to family and community engagement.

Only 34 percent of public school parents were “very satisfied” with family and community engagement,” 50 percent of private school parents were “very satisfied” and 47 percent of parents at charter schools were “very satisfied.” Thirty-nine percent of parents whose children qualified for free-and-reduced lunch said they were satisfied with their school’s family and community engagement.

The results weren’t divided by race either. When asked if they were “very satisfied” with the family and community engagement of their child’s public school. African-American (41 percent), Asian (34 percent), Caucasian (36 percent) and Hispanic (39 percent) parents showed similar levels of satisfaction with their child’s public schools.

“The yawning gap in the satisfaction shows a clear area of strategic improvement for public schools to become competitive with private and charter schools,” said study leader Vikas Mittal, the J. Hugh Liedtke Professor of Marketing at Rice, in a statement. “Our study provides a concrete road map that schools can implement to satisfy parents’ need for further engagement. This road map includes involving parents in school activities, developing avenues for parents to give input in school policies, improved communication and clearly explaining to parents how their child is graded and assessed.”