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Keeping Our Eye on Equity

Back to School, Not to Normal

Students across New York State returned for a new school year this month, by and large in person for the first time in 18 months. Yet, while most parents believe in-person instruction is ideal for their child’s learning, they remain deeply concerned about how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is impacting their child’s health and well-being.

For the first time in our polling, that remained true across racial and income groups, underscoring the impact this pandemic has had on all of us.

The results of our latest poll – the sixth since the start of the pandemic – highlight the critical need for state and local education leaders to listen to the voices of parents and act with the greatest urgency to provide their children with the resources and support they need to safely thrive this school year – including clear and consistent safety precautions, a remote learning option, and clear plans for if schools need to close or students need to quarantine.

In this unprecedented moment, we can and must do better for New York families, and that starts with listening to the people who know the most about their children — parents.

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimage

Key Findings


Although the vast majority of New York State parents report that their children are attending school in person this year – likely because few parents report having a remote learning option – the majority of parents across all racial groups indicated they would opt for remote learning if the option was available. Additionally, 11 percent of parents of a Kindergartner said they delayed enrolling their child because of concerns over the coronavirus.


Parents continue to be concerned about health and safety issues and the social-emotional development of their children — with heightened concern among Black and Latinx parents, whose communities have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.


While parents are mostly satisfied with their child’s school’s handling of coronavirus so far this school year, they continue to be concerned about the academic development of their child — with heightened concern among Black and Latinx parents and parents from low-income households. These parents also reported that they would find many resources helpful that schools are still not providing. 


Parents, particularly Black and Latinx parents and parents from low-income households, are increasingly concerned about their child’s academic development and high school students’ transition to college and careers, and how the pandemic will affect their futures.


As New York school districts are set to receive additional resources and federal funding, including funding though the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Coronavirus, Response, and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRSSA), parents feel that it is important to prioritize academic and social-emotional supports for students.

Spread the Word

Help us amplify parents’ experiences this school year by sharing the poll results, or your own experience, on social media by using sample posts and graphics below!

Keeping Our Eye on Equity: Spring 2021

A year after the coronavirus pandemic forced school closures across New York State, one concern remained top of mind for parents – how the loss of instructional time in the classroom will affect their children. Our previous poll found that academic concerns remain at the forefront for parents – especially for parents of color and parents from low-income backgrounds – from whether their children will be prepared to move to the next grade level to whether high school seniors have the skills they need to enter college or the workforce.

Graduating Into Uncertainty

Across New York State, school districts serving the largest shares of students of color and students from low-income backgrounds were more likely to rely on exemptions from Regents exams to graduate students, highlighting the critical need for state and education leaders to take steps to ensure that high school seniors are supported in their postsecondary transition.

Educational Equity at a Time of Crisis

New York’s education system continues to grapple with many of the inequities that existed before the pandemic and were exacerbated when the coronavirus pandemic forced school closures in March 2020. From how to assess student learning to supporting high school seniors in their postsecondary transition, it is crucial state leaders address these questions through an equity lens. Below you can explore resources designed to help policymakers and education leaders address these issues, while keeping a focus on the needs of historically underserved groups of students during this ongoing crisis.

Reopening Schools: Fall 2020

The 2020-2021 school year started unlike any other, representing an opportunity for our education system to support the success of all students whether they were learning in-person, remotely, or a blend of the two. Click here to read reopening plans and learn more about the reopening of schools in Fall 2020.

Ensuring Equity Online

The 2020-2021 school year has been exceptionally challenging for New York students, families, and educators. The ongoing effects of the pandemic, ever-evolving adjustments to teaching and learning, and the continued national reckoning with systemic racism are all taking their toll on educators and their students. Explore 10 principles for equity in remote learning that build upon the equity-focused reopening guidance provided by the New York State Education Department and read how students and educators continue to persevere through one of the most challenging times facing schools in our lifetime.