See Kids Can’t Wait Website

[New Jersey – February 23, 2022] JerseyCAN, a nonprofit advocating for high-quality schools for all New Jersey students, released today the most comprehensive statewide review of New Jersey public school parents’ concerns and priorities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. JerseyCAN partnered with the organization Parent Impact on this poll. Conducted by the Global Strategy Group, the poll is the latest in a series of efforts developed by JerseyCAN’s statewide NJ KIDS CAN’T WAIT parent initiative, which launched last fall to provide New Jersey families with needed information, guidance, and tools to address students’ needs. Since the campaign’s launch, JerseyCAN has invested in extensive statewide media, created a one-stop-shopping online resource for parents, and partnered with local teachers to drive meaningful engagement with parents across the state.

Global Strategy Group’s online survey methodology modeled a representative sample of New Jersey public school parents, based on gender, age, race, level of education, and region of the state, built a sample size of 400 public school parents, with a +/- 4.9% margin of error.

Complete results of the poll can be found on the JerseyCAN’s NJ KIDS CAN’T WAIT microsite.

Among the key findings:

    • Coming out of the pandemic, New Jersey public school parents have deep academic concerns about their children. Specifically, parents’ top concerns center on students’ ability to focus in class, social isolation, difficulty learning new concepts, and getting help from teachers. They are particularly concerned that their children have fallen behind in the core subjects of math (41%) and reading (29%).
    • As a result, parents are seeking bold changes in education. Parents – especially lower-income parents and people of color – want to see significant reforms to address their concerns. Most want to see schools use new funding to make these bold changes (63%) rather than simply moving back to the old normal (37%).
    • Parents want changes that provide students with more academic support. Parents want more instructional time for their children (59% want more time) and particularly support more time in the subjects they are most concerned about — math and reading. They also want individualized learning plans and extra academic support and tutoring.
    • Parents clearly support testing to measure progress. Parents want more data about students to ensure they are on track and that their schools are doing a good job teaching. They believe statewide tests are effective at measuring these and support them (80% believe testing is important).

“As the polling information indicates, New Jersey sits at a defining moment,” stated Janellen Duffy, Senior Advisor, JerseyCAN, “and understanding parents’ concerns and priorities is crucial for building sensible policies and solutions for the future. Parents do not want to simply return to how things were – they want to see bold changes so schools can make up for lost time and meet the needs of their children. At JerseyCAN, we will use the poll as a guide for our policy recommendations and dig deeper to understand the full realm of bold changes that parents are seeking.”

In a joint statement, Jamilah Muhammad and Tafshier Cosby, co-Chief Executive Officers for Parent Impact stated,

“These findings are consistent with what we have heard in the field in our work with parents in New Jersey and across the country,” “Parents know what their children need — additional academic support like tutoring and more time spent on instruction — and they want to see funding being used for bold changes in education as we emerge from the pandemic. Now is the time for policymakers to really engage, especially with families, and make sure we’re meeting these needs.”

Today’s poll release comes on the heels of recent news articles, editorials, and op-eds, that showcase alarming data regarding the significant disruption to student learning caused by the pandemic, with the majority of public school students now needing “some support” or “strong support” in Math or English Language Arts.

JerseyCAN created the NJ KIDS CAN’T WAIT campaign to support parents in their efforts to get students back on track, develop a statewide platform to share the voices of parents and teachers, and ensure all New Jersey families and educators uphold the highest expectations for our student. In addition to the NJ KIDS CAN’T WAIT campaign, JereseyCAN’s has invested heavily to address the significant challenges brought on by the global pandemic:

    • In the Fall of 2020, JerseyCAN conducted the first poll of New Jersey parents showcasing the stark racial and income disparities in addressing the challenges of COVID-19. This poll found that parents had concerns about their children’s health and safety and ensuring their children are on track academically.
    • Last Winter, JerseyCAN released the first of its kind study defining the impact of COVID-19 on New Jersey students. This research projected that approximately 393,000 students in ELA and 430,000 students in Math in grades 3-8 would not be on grade level by the end of this school year.
    • Earlier this summer, as school districts began creating plans to utilize the billions of federal dollars coming into New Jersey through COVID relief funding, JerseyCAN launched a centralized multimedia platform to assist local districts and charter schools in advancing new strategies and programs to accelerate learning. This platform features case studies of New Jersey districts and schools actively using evidence-based strategies to accelerate student learning.
    • In recent weeks, JerseyCAN launched a series of videos created by NJ teachers, who provide advice to parents to reinforce skills to address students’ learning needs at home.

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About JerseyCAN:
JerseyCAN: The New Jersey Campaign for Achievement Now is a nonprofit organization that advocates for all students across the state to have access to high-quality schools. We work to improve policies and programs to support equity and excellence in New Jersey education.


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