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Denver K-12th Grade Parents Poll Key Findings


TEN, alongside African Leadership Group, Stand for Children and Faithbridge released a poll of Denver Parents about their satisfaction with their educational experience this year. Below is the polling data, which reflects what we are hearing loud and clear from families: Parents are frustrated, lost and are in need of a plan.

These results are based on an online survey conducted among 647 parents of a K-12th grade school age child or children in the City of Denver conducted by Keating Research from January 4-10, 2021. This survey sample of 647 is meant to accurately represent the population of Denver’s K-12th grade school parents by gender, age, income and ethnicity. Respondents were given the opportunity to complete the survey in English or Spanish.


1) A majority of parents are satisfied with the learning options that DPS is offering to its students.


When Denver parents are asked if they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the learning options that Denver Public Schools is offering to students, a majority 57% say they are satisfied, while 36% are dissatisfied and 7% don’t know.

  • Satisfaction with the learning options in Denver Public Schools is significantly higher among Black (64% satisfied to 30% dissatisfied) and Hispanic (68% satisfied to 31% dissatisfied) parents compared to white parents (41% satisfied to 44% dissatisfied).

  • Among parents with children attending Denver Public Schools, nearly two-thirds (64%) are satisfied with the learning options Denver Public Schools is offering to students. • Kindergarten parents (48% satisfied – 41% dissatisfied) are less satisfied with the learning options in Denver Public Schools as compared to Elementary (55% satisfied – 39% dissatisfied) and Middle and High School parents (62% satisfied – 32% dissatisfied).

2) Two-thirds of parents feel that their student is learning less online compared to in person learning.


When parents are asked to compare how much their children are learning online compared to in person, a 2- to-1 majority - 65% say their children are learning less, while about one quarter (28%) say they are learning the same amount or more.



The feeling that children are learning less during online learning is prevalent among parents throughout Denver including in SBD #3 East Denver (73% learning less), SBD #1 Southeast (69% learning less), SBD #5 Northwest (64% learning less), SBD #2 Southwest (62% learning less) and SBD #4 Northeast (60% learning less).


One consequence of learning less online is that parents are divided about the job that schools are doing educating their children during the pandemic. Half (50%) of parents feel that schools are doing a fair (30%) to poor (20%) job educating their child during the pandemic, while the other half (49%) feel that schools are doing an excellent (20%) to good (29%) job educating their child during the pandemic. Parents of children attending DPS are equally divided with 51% saying fair or poor and 49% saying excellent or good.


3) Nearly 1-in-6 (17%) of Denver parents say they have taken action this semester by either homeschooling their child instead of remote learning (8%), transferring their child to a private school (6%) or by enrolling their child in another school district (4%).


Three-of-four (75%) of the parents that transferred their child to a private school are in the upper income, making more than $75,000 per year, and half (49%) of the transfers to private school are among white families. In addition, the transfer is significantly more likely to occur with kindergarten children (18% transferred to private school) than with high school students (2% transferred to private school).


Hispanic (11%) and Black (9%) parents are significantly more likely to have decided to homeschool their child instead of remote learning, compared to white (2%) families.


4) On average, parents say their child is engaged in live, real time instruction with a teacher for about four hours per day.


When Denver parents are asked how many hours during an average school day their child is engaged in live, real time instruction (remote or in-person) with a teacher, the majority 57% say 4 hours or less, while 39% say 5+ hours and 4% don’t know.

  • Elementary school parents are more likely to say their child receives 4 hours or less of instruction with a teacher. (60% say 4 hours or less and 37% say 5+ hours)

  • Middle school parents are more likely to say their child receives 5+ hours of instruction with a teacher. (44% say 4 hours or less and 53% say 5+ hours)