New Poll Finds DC Parents Overwhelmingly Support Designating Emergency Funds to Limit Learning Loss

Press Releases

February 16, 2021

New Poll Finds DC Parents Overwhelmingly Support Designating Emergency Funds to Limit Learning Loss

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 16, 2021) A new poll released today by Education Reform Now DC (ERN DC) found that 90% of D.C. voters, who are parents or guardians of a child between the ages of 3 and 18, would support the use of emergency relief funds to implement tutoring services for public school students who have fallen behind since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

More than one in four parents report that they have paid to supplement their child’s education during the pandemic, from joining community learning ‘pods’ to using private tutoring services.

“While our students, educators, and parents are doing their best given the circumstances, many students are experiencing learning loss and declines in well-being, especially students of color and students from low-income families,” said Jessica Giles, interim director of ERN DC. “It’s time to reimagine our public education system. This means ensuring our students and families—especially those who cannot afford it—have additional resources, like high-dosage tutoring services and mental health services, to ensure they are well-supportedwhether learning in person or virtually.”

The poll found District parents split by gender and race on in-person instruction. Nearly half of men say schools should be open for in-person instruction, while only 27% of women did. Additionally, 69% of White parents believe schools should be open for instruction compared to 26% of Black parents. Willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine also varied by race: 90% of White parents are willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine compared to 72% of Hispanic or Latino parents and 47% of Black parents. 

“In-person learning can be safe with the right protocols in place. This poll demonstrates that there is more work to do to build parents’ support and confidence in COVID vaccinations and in-person learning,” said Giles. 

Other key findings from the poll include: 

  • 79% of parents rate their child’s school’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as excellent or good, and 21% of parents said the word that best describes how they feel about the current school year is hopeful.
  • Nearly one-in-four parents said the word that best describes how their child feels about the current school year is frustrated.
  • An overwhelming majority of parents (87%) surveyed said that end-of-year assessments used to evaluate student learning, skills, and academic achievement are important.
  • Most parents support the Mayor’s ability to hire and manage the Chancellor of Public Schools (67%), with women in strong support (73%).

The survey of 277 Washington, D.C., parents, who are voters, was conducted on Feb. 1-5, 2021, by Public Policy Polling. The margin of error is +/- 5.9%. All interviews for the survey were conducted by live callers; 31% were contacted via landline telephone and 69% by cell phone. You can view the full results here


Education Reform Now DC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocacy organization that promotes increased resources and innovative reforms in PreK-16 public education in Washington, D.C., particularly for students from low-income families and students of color.