Poll: Minority, low-income students more likely to see serious problems in schools

By Philip Elliott

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Aug. 19 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

"The educators are not there to participate. They're there to do a j-o-b," Barnum said. "The teachers are sending kids home with so much homework. They're being sent home with homework to have the parents teach them or have to teach themselves."

Digging into these numbers reveals another wide gap based on race. Fifty-four percent of Hispanic parents and 50 percent of black parents think they have a great deal or a lot of influence over their child's education. Only 34 percent of white parents share this view.

When asking about school funding, artistic programs and technology, racial identities divided perceptions.

Sixty-one percent of black parents saw inequality in school funding as a problem, compared with 32 percent of white parents. Thirty-six percent of black parents saw insufficient opportunities for musical or artistic pursuits, but just 21 percent of white parents did. And 50 percent of Hispanic parents said a lack of computers and technology was a problem, while 34 percent of black parents and just 16 percent of white parents said the same.

Hispanic parents were significantly more likely than white parents to see keeping good teachers as a problem, by a 67 percent to 24 percent margin. Fighting, violence and gangs were a serious concern for 53 percent of Hispanic parents, but only 13 percent of white parents.

There also are clear socio-economic divides on what qualities parents see in good teachers. Parents with less formal education or lower incomes are more likely to emphasize teachers' academic credentials and experience in the classroom, as are black and Hispanic parents.

The survey was sponsored by the Joyce Foundation, which works to promote policies that improve the quality of teachers, including the development of new teacher evaluation systems, enhance early reading reforms and encourage innovation in public schools.

The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey was conducted June 21 through July 22, 2013. The nationally representative poll involved landline and cellphone interviews in English or Spanish with 1,025 parents of children who completed grades K through 12 in the last school year. Interviews were conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.

Online: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research: http://www.apnorc.org

Associated Press News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius and writer Stacy A. Anderson contributed to this report. Follow Philip Elliott and Jennifer Agiesta on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/philip_elliott and http://www.twitter.com/jennagiesta

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