Dallas ISD Parents Are Worried

Over the past couple of weeks especially, parents everywhere have watched their school districts make plans, only to have to pivot, and then pivot again as state and local authorities make changes to policy.

As we covered last Thursday’s Dallas ISD school board meeting, we realized that many parents were anxiously watching the proceedings, and wanted a way to capture a snapshot of parents as they navigate the decision-making process involved in deciding whether on-campus instruction or distance learning is the right choice for their families.

So we launched a survey as the board meeting was still in session, with the hope of capturing parents and teachers that are dialed in to the ever-increasing changes to guidance.

Just shy of 200 took the survey, which was conducted on MailChimp’s survey platform. The results are below.

If school were to start on August 17, how would you feel most comfortable with your child attending?
  • In-Person 21.2%
  • Online 72%
  • Unsure 6.7%
If you chose in-person instruction, are you comfortable with the level of preparation the district has done for staff and student safety?
  • Yes 26.9%
  • No 57.2%
  • Unsure 15.9%
Would you send your child to school on campus on September 8?
  • Yes 25.4%
  • No 54.4%
  • Unsure 20.2%
How confident are you that the district can maintain a sustained supply of PPE and other supplies for on-campus instruction?
  • Very 15%
  • Not sure 30.1%
  • Not at all 54.9%
What was your experience with distance learning last year?
  • Extremely favorable 5.7%
  • Favorable 40.4%
  • Unfavorable 28%
  • Very unfavorable 19.7%
  • No opinion/didn’t have a child in the district 6.2%
If you have chosen distance learning, are you going to do any of the following:
  • Pods (joining together with one or two other families with all children learning together as one cohort using DISD instruction) 21.2%
  • Extra tutoring 19.8%
  • One parent taking a leave of absence or staying home 18.3%
  • Relying on a relative or friend to assist 11.5%
  • Upgrading internet service 9%
  • Hiring in-home childcare 5%
  • No changes at all 0%

Additionally, we gave respondents the opportunity to give longer answers by inviting them to tell us their biggest concerns about the upcoming school year.

We had 156 responses to that question, with many expressing worries about the level of preparedness of Dallas ISD, but also worries about having to make the choice between working and keeping a child at home during the pandemic.

And it is clear that parents are truly conflicted. Even those respondents who said definitively they were choosing on-campus or on-line instruction had real qualms about the decision, as you can see from the sampling of responses below.

DISD Survey Concern Question by PeopleNewspapersDallas on Scribd

To see the full results, click here.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, deputy editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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