The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research

The Intersection of Insight and Journalism

Parents Attitudes on the Quality of Education in the United States

With funding from The Joyce Foundation, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted a national survey of 1,025 parents or guardians of children who completed kindergarten through 12th grade in the past school year.
Between America’s long-standing national objective of improving the strength of the public school system to prepare students for college and careers and the focus of the Obama administration on education as a pathway to economic security for the middle class and improving the economy, education issues and policy have been in the spotlight. A central focus of the policy discussion is the measurement of quality and the utilization of quality data to improve student outcomes. This quality-focused policy agenda covers a range of high-profile issues, from standardized testing to teacher evaluation to early childhood education, and involves a range of stakeholders.

While regular survey research is conducted with a variety of stakeholders, including teachers, very few nationally representative surveys of parents have been conducted
recently. Often cited as a key determinant of student outcomes, parents represent an important perspective that policymakers need to understand in the design, articulation, and implementation of quality-focused education initiatives. This study provides a comprehensive description of parents’ perspectives on education in America today, with a specific focus on understanding what quality education and teaching means to parents and how it should be measured and rewarded.

With funding from The Joyce Foundation, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted a national survey of 1,025 parents or guardians of children who completed kindergarten through 12th grade in the past school year. The key findings from the study, summarized below, provide much-needed information for policymakers and school officials across the country to better understand the perspectives and opinions of one of their key constituencies—parents.​