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NEA News

Parents’ Support for Educators Stays Strong

As we prepare to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, a national poll finds that parents empathize with teachers' struggles and trust their decisions.
back to school covid (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Published: April 30, 2021

From the moment COVID-19 began shuttering schools a year ago, educators not only rose to the challenges the pandemic created, they rocketed above and beyond for their students. And though some may feel beat up by the stress, new research shows that parents not only appreciate you, they empathize with your struggles, they trust you to make good decisions, and they are firmly planted on your side.

As we prepare to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, the big story is that the massive parent backlash perpetuated by some media outlets is a myth. According to a national poll by the research firm GQR Insights and Action, parents in fact support educators and put a lot of faith in their children’s teachers.

Parents Empathize with Educators

The research found that 86 percent of parents polled agree that that educators faced enormous stress during the pandemic as they learned new online platforms and how to manage in-person and online instruction at the same time.

Parents Trust Educators on Reopening

Parents and guardians are more than ready to get their students back to in-person instruction, but they also trust teachers and their unions on their decisions about returning to the classroom.

Regardless of where they stand on the issue, the research shows that parents and guardians generally trust teachers’ unions (66 percent) and teachers (64 percent) to make the right decision about when schools should reopen. Even a majority of Republicans say they trust teachers and teachers’ unions to make the right call (55 percent and 53 percent trust respectively).

Parents Are On Your Side

It’s hard to tune out the noise made by an angry few, but the data shows that most parents aren’t blaming teachers at all. In fact, 70 percent say they are on your side when it comes to reopening.

Support Still Strong a Year Later

The new data from GQR indicates that parents support is unwavering from last year when a National Education Association survey found 88 percent of parents approve of how their children’s teachers were handling the coronavirus pandemic . They also overwhelmingly (81 percent) approved of school support staff (school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, etc.) - a higher rating than they gave their governor (71 percent), and their mayor or local government (73 percent).

“We are used to the challenges of a typical school year, but faced with unprecedented challenges that were far from typical this year, everyone leaned in, stood in the gap and found creative ways to adapt, innovate and persevere to keep students learning and smiling,” said middle school science teacher and NEA President Becky Pringle. “This research shows that parents and guardians recognize those efforts. That’s why this Teacher Appreciation Week, communities across the country will come together to appreciate educators and the lengths they will go to ensure every student, no matter who they are or where they live, has the tools to learn, grow, and thrive.”

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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.