(SAN DIEGO, July 13, 2022) Families After Pandemic, released by Keep Learning California, a collaborative initiative developed by PIQE, Attendance Works, and Families In Schools, illustrates the unprecedented impact the last few years have had on the lives of families and their students.
The new survey of 539 PIQE families with elementary school-age children in California finds that more than half of the families had students who were asked to quarantine during the 2021-22 school year. A full 16% of the students who stayed at home due to quarantine did not have access to vital learning and growth opportunities.
The survey shows families dealing with personal and collective trauma, isolation, and economic hardship, even as they return to in-person school and work. To address past challenges, and to build a more resilient, successful future for their children, participants were asked what resources would be most helpful. Of those who responded, 78% said that tutoring was a top resource, along with the prioritization of mental health support and social-emotional learning (SEL).
“Many families, particularly those who are already socio-economically disadvantaged, are still dealing with the overwhelming challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Sandy Mendoza, director of advocacy at Families In Schools. “Taking steps to address mental health and behavioral issues resulting from the high level of stress families and kids experienced over the past two years should be a top priority for policymakers and educators in California.”
The survey also reveals that 49% of families did not own their own technology, which greatly impacts their ability to seek resources in the summer months after students have turned in their computer devices. In addition, 23% of families did not have access to email, and 10% continued to have challenges with a stable internet connection.
“Families with students who were quarantined reported that their children lacked reliable internet or devices to complete assignments, a quiet place to do homework or were burdened by the family’s basic needs,” said PIQE President and CEO Gloria Corral. “Those missed learning opportunities mean many students are struggling academically and are in need of more support than ever before.”
The survey, conducted in late spring 2022, reached 539 PIQE families by phone. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed said they had annual household incomes below $29,000. Participants were predominantly Spanish-speaking (90%), with children who were attending preschool (5%) and elementary (95%) school.
Other key findings include:
“As communities regain a sense of post-pandemic normalcy, it is imperative to assess the impact the last few years have had on the lives of families and students,” said Hedy Chang, executive director, Attendance Works. “The Keep Learning California survey identifies the evolving needs and concerns of families across California as a way to provide data that informs solutions that support student’s academic recovery and achievement.”
Keep Learning California (www.keeplearningca.org) provides tools and resources both families and educators can use to help keep children learning and ensure the equity gap in education doesn’t widen.
Attendance Works (www.attendanceworks.org) is a national and local initiative that promotes equal opportunities to learn and advances student success by inspiring and catalyzing policies and practices that prevent and reduce chronic absence.
Families In Schools (www.familiesinschools.org) envisions a public education system where students have all the opportunities and resources necessary to succeed in school and in life.
Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) (www.piqe.org) is a national organization with evidence-based programs that engage, empower and transform parents to actively engage in their children’s education and strengthen parent-school collaboration.