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Survey finds parent-teacher relationships strong--Teachers given grade of "A"

The National Education Association and Parenting magazine partner for ground-breaking report

WASHINGTON - April 30, 2012 -

Parenting magazine and the National Education Association today announced the results of a groundbreaking joint survey* of 1,000 public school parents and educators that explored the roadblocks to effective parent-teacher communication. When parents were asked to “grade” their relationship with their child’s teachers, nearly half (45 percent) gave the teachers an “A,” with the majority on both sides categorizing the relationship as “great” and “open.”

 Despite the strong relationships, the survey revealed that the two sides differ on some key issues. Sixty-eight percent of teachers reported difficulty in dealing with parents. A similar percentage of parents–63 percent–reported they’d never had difficulty with teachers.  More than one-quarter of parents stated their biggest challenge has been teachers’ perceived lack of understanding for their concerns, while one in three teachers cited parents’ lack of understanding of their child’s issues as their biggest challenge.

 The survey also revealed that:

  • Nearly two out of three parents say their child’s teachers offer a supportive response to concerns when they are expressed, and that teachers are willing to help resolve concerns; nearly 80 percent of teachers consider parents to be supportive.
  • Nearly 88 percent of parents consider their child’s teacher a partner in achieving success in school, but just over half of teachers, 54 percent, feel that parents do their part at home to ensure that kids get the most out of classroom learning.  
  • The majority of parents, 8 out of 10, feel their child’s teachers are well equipped with the skills necessary to communicate with them.
  • Although 48 percent of parents feel that their opinion is always taken seriously by their child’s teachers, only 17 percent of teachers feel their opinion is taken seriously just as often by their students’ parents.

 Although just 7 percent of teachers believe parents aren’t given the opportunity to offer input into and participate in school events and activities, a higher percentage of parents–nearly one-quarter–say they feel shut out of the collaborative process.

  • Although a significant number—71 percent—of teachers feel they hold enough conferences with parents (the majority hold them twice per school year), only 48 percent of parents agree that there are sufficient conferences.

 The results were announced in a panel discussion at Parenting’s Mom Congress on Education and Learning, a three-day event in Washington, D.C., April 29-May 1, that celebrates and connects parents who have made a difference in the fight for better schools.  Leading the discussion between Parenting editor-in-chief Ana Connery and NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen was NBC News’ education correspondent, Rehema Ellis.  The panelists spoke to the audience about fostering a family-school partnership and offered solutions for bridging the gaps in communication that were revealed in the survey.

“This year’s Mom Congress conference is dedicated to addressing the vital need for parent-teacher communication on behalf of students’ best interests—and to finding solutions to achieve it,” said Connery, who is also editorial director of The Parenting Group.  “Parents want, and in many cases are taking, every opportunity to work collaboratively with teachers to play an active role in their child’s learning.  Parenting is excited to work with partners like the NEA to foster conversations that give this passionate group of advocates the chance to support each other’s efforts to improve schools—and through each of Parenting’s national media properties, to help inspire millions of others to do the same.”

 "When schools, teachers, and parents work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more,” said NEA’s Eskelsen. “I am thrilled that this year’s Mom Congress is emphasizing the importance of cultivating strong relationships between parents and teachers. Parental involvement is a critical component to student success.  When parents and teachers work as a team, children soar to new heights.”

 For the third year in a row, Parenting selected one outstanding mom from every state and the District of Columbia to win an all-expense paid trip to the conference.  The advocates worked with Parenting editors and past Mom Congress delegates, as well as with national leaders in education including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, Reach Out and Read, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign—the title sponsor of the 2012 Mom Congress—and others.  In addition, faculty members from Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies (the Mom Congress educational provider) led advocacy training workshops to help attendees take what they’ve learned and put it to work in their own communities.  

 *Survey Methodology:

In March 2012, Parenting Magazine, in conjunction with the National Education Association (NEA), contracted with Walker Communications, a New York-based magazine consulting and research company, to undertake a joint survey of parents with children in elementary public schools and public school grades K-5 teachers to understand their views related to parent/teacher relationships.  A questionnaire for each group was developed by Parenting Magazine and the NEA with input from Walker Communications.

 At the close of the survey on April 19, 2012, the final tabulated results were limited to the first 500 qualified responses.   To qualify, Parenting respondents had to have at least 1 child in grades K-5 in a public school.  Qualified NEA respondents had to be a public school teacher in grades K-5.  

About The Parenting Group

The Parenting Group (TPG), home of the Parenting, Babytalk and Conceive brands, reaches moms more than 15 million times monthly through magazines, digital media, custom content, and events. TPG’s publications include: Parenting School Years, for moms with children in kindergarten through elementary school; Parenting Early Years, for moms of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers; and Babytalk, for new moms and moms-to-be. TPG’s other media properties include Conceive, for women trying to get pregnant; the Babytalk Pregnancy Planner; the and web sites; MomConnection®, a nationally representative online research network; and a custom content unit. The Parenting Group is a division of Bonnier Corporation.

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 The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.


Celeste Busser (202)-822-7259