Survey of 1,323 California Families reveals continued inequities and barriers in education, digital access and health

Six months after Parent Institute for Quality Education’s (PIQE) initial Spring 2020 survey, PIQE conducted a Fall 2020 phone survey in Spanish of 1,323 PIQE parents to better assess how parents and families adapted and where critical areas of need remain as the pandemic continues to evolve. The Fall 2020 survey found continuing disparities in equitable access to educational instruction time and marked increases in student and familial stress.

The Fall 2020 phone survey was divided into four sections focused on distance learning, digital divide, mental health and essential needs from three PIQE regions: Northern California (15%), Central Valley (33%) and Southern California (51%).

The survey reveals that families and their students – even when those that participated were connected to some supports through PIQE parent workshops – continue to face inequitable access to educational opportunities despite concerted efforts to provide more equipment and additional internet access.

Key findings from the October 2020 survey include:
• 17% of statewide respondents indicated they do not have reliable internet or Wi-Fi at home.
• 1 in 5 families does not have their own email address.
• 50% of respondents state they do not know how to receive medical services online or by phone with the greatest disparity in Central Valley (52%)
• 62% of respondents are concerned about their student(s) emotional needs.
• 51% of respondents indicated that their stress levels are higher or much higher than normal.

“Critical to a family’s ability to support their child’s learning at home is having a relationship with their teacher(s) that is based on respect and trust where two-way communication is supported, open and solution-oriented,” PIQE President and CEO Gloria Corral said. “This is true for distance learning but should also be considered as schools prepare to reopen.”

Based on parent surveys, interviews as well as input from PIQE statewide partners, Corral said that a holistic response is needed to move forward which include:

  • training to develop digital literacy skills for the adults supporting online learning at home
  • extended school year and summer months for more learning opportunities with teachers
  • access to basic needs like nutritious food, housing and employment supports
  • mental health supports for both adults and children to respond to mental health needs

PIQE survey was conducted from October 9, 2020 to October 26, 2020 and included 26 questions. The report highlights 12 responses. Leaders from The Education Trust-West, Civil Rights Project at UCLA, Californians Together, Public Advocates, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) San Diego and Imperial Counties, and The Children’s Partnership partnered with PIQE in the development of the survey.

For more information on the report, contact PIQE Policy Director Patty Chavez,, 619-495-0321.