Parents overwhelmingly support educators during COVID-19 crisis, poll shows

My PSEA Login



Parents overwhelmingly support educators during COVID-19 crisis, poll shows

Findings of national poll come as nation celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week

For further information contact:
Chris Lilienthal (717) 255-7134
David Broderic (717) 255-7169

HARRISBURG, PA (May 4, 2020) – Nearly nine out of 10 American parents approve of how their children’s teachers are handling the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new poll commissioned by the National Education Association (NEA).

The poll was released as the nation marks Teacher Appreciation Week, a tradition that traces back to 1953 when former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt proposed that Congress set aside a day to acknowledge the work of educators. Since 1984, the National PTA has held events throughout the first week of May to celebrate the outstanding contributions teachers make.

The NEA poll’s findings reinforce that parents across America continue to value the important work of educators. In recent weeks, teachers and support staff have adapted to the COVID-19 crisis by teaching from a distance, preparing grab-and-go meals for students, and keeping students and their families connected to school.

“Pennsylvania is lucky to have remarkable educators,” said PSEA President Rich Askey. “Thanks to their hard work, our students continue to learn, even as school buildings are closed. It is gratifying to me to see just how much parents and families appreciate the great work of our educators.”

According to the NEA poll, support for school personnel as they handle the pandemic was high across the board:

  • 88 percent of parents approve of their children’s teachers;
  • 84 percent approve of their children’s school principals; and
  • 81 percent approve of school support staff, such as bus drivers or cafeteria workers.

The poll also shows that parents and guardians believe educators are working hard to communicate with them, that educators are finding ways to connect with students who don’t have internet access, and that educators are giving their students more one-on-one assistance.

When asked about their concerns, 81 percent of parents identified “keeping my children’s education on track” – second only to “getting sick or close friends, family members getting sick” (82 percent).

When asked to select challenges their families are experiencing with distance learning, parents cited their children missing out on socializing with other students (55 percent) and missing seeing their teachers in person (45 percent) as the top two.

“Pennsylvania’s educators always put their students first, and that is evident more than ever in the face of this global crisis,” Askey said. “Teacher Appreciation Week gives us all a great opportunity to thank our educators for stepping up in this pandemic and for what they do all year round to make sure that our children succeed.”

GBAO Strategies conducted the survey of 800 parents and guardians of school-aged children who attend a public school using an online panel between April 3-7, 2020. The sample is subject to a 3.5 percentage point margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level.

Read a polling memo from GBAO summarizing the findings.

Askey is a Harrisburg music teacher and the president of PSEA. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents about 180,000 active and retired educators and school employees, student teachers, higher education staff, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.