Public Opinion Tracker Deep Dive: Black K-12 Parent Perspectives (December 2021)

With the second half of the academic calendar underway, the demand to hear from those in and around K–12 education is as high as ever. In recent weeks COVID-19 cases have been surging in most states (though there are some showing declines now). Schools, students and families continue to adapt to a constantly changing schooling environment. Essential questions surrounding topics like masking requirements, vaccinations, homeschooling, and school choice are on the minds of many, making it crucial to understand where parents stand on the issues.

As COVID-19 continues to pervade conversations across the country, it continues to affect people in different ways. The pandemic has shed light on a harsh reality: Black families face unique and distinct obstacles, and their experiences in K–12 education are no exception.

Through our polling partnership with Morning Consult, we monitor different groups’ perspectives pertaining to COVID-19, the classroom and other major topics in K–12 education. This new polling brief is based on our survey Black school parents, which was in the field between Dec. 14 and Dec. 21. We obtained completed surveys from 424 Black parents of school-aged children, including an oversampling of 300 black parents. During this time we also surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,325 K – 12 school parents, which includes an oversampling of 700 school parents, to provide insight into the differences in similarities in experiences between different groups.

Our latest polling brief posted today, and here are some of the key findings from December:

1. Black parents showed an increased willingness to get their kids vaccinated over the past month. Congruently, Black parents were increasingly more likely to get the vaccine for themselves in December. The proportion of Black parents willing to get themselves vaccinated increased to a similar level as white parents, while Hispanic parents were slightly more cautious when it came to vaccinating themselves, as well as their children. In terms of the COVID-19 booster shot, nearly 90 percent of the parents have received, or plan to receive the booster, regardless of race.

2. More than seven out of 10 Black parents would prefer having at least one day of school (per week) occur at home. Since November, that percentage increased by 6 percentage points. Additionally, more than 1 in 5 Black parents would prefer to completely homeschool their child. White parents, on the other hand, were 17 percentage points more likely to prefer having their child’s schooling occur completely outside the home. Nearly half of white parents would prefer to have their children in school five days a week.

3. Homeschooling remains popular with a majority of parents. The COVID-19 pandemic has opened the eyes of many to the benefits of homeschooling. Among Hispanic parents, homeschooling popularity has reached its highest level since June, with more than seven out of 10 Hispanic parents favorable to homeschooling. By contrast, white parents have been typically less favorable toward homeschooling than Black or Hispanic parents in our polling. However, we saw a seven-point increase among white parents since November.

4. In December, a little more than one-third of Black parents indicated they were participating in or interested in joining a learning pod. More than half of Hispanic parents said they were currently participating or looking to join a learning pod. White and Black parents expressed similar levels of interest in pods. We observed a sizable increase (+7 points) among white parents, compared to their responses in November.

5. Eight out of 10 Black parents support charter schools. Their support increased 4 percentage points in December, with more than one-third of Black parents showing strong support for charters. Positive views of charter schools reached its highest level since June.

6. The majority of Black parents continue to support school vouchers and education savings accounts (ESAs). Among school choice policies, school vouchers are typically the most popular with Black parents and have consistently floated around 80 percent support since our data collection started back in February. In our polling of the general population, the support for vouchers is 15 percentage points lower (65 percent) than that of Black parents (80 percent). Education savings accounts (ESAs) remained popular among Black parents, polling at 78 percent support. Nearly half of Black parents expressed strong support for ESAs and vouchers.

This will be the last monthly Black Parents polling brief—at least in its current form and frequency. We are planning on publishing at least two larger, more in-depth polling reports before the end of 2022. These reports will feature parents’ schooling experiences and opinions within the Black, Latino and Asian-American communities. Stay tuned for this new reporting as we move forward this year.

NOTE: Visit the EdChoice Public Opinion Tracker site to access past polling reports and briefs as well as demographic crosstabs and questionnaires. It provides a more in-depth description of our methodology. We also maintain the K–12 Education Polls Archive, which is updated on a rolling basis—roughly a few times each month. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if we are missing any surveys in that archive, or if there are accidental errors in any of our reporting.