Behind the Headline: Black and Latino Parents Want Better Teachers and Harder Classes for Their Kids

On Top of the News
Black and Latino Parents Want Better Teachers and Harder Classes for Their Kids
Los Angeles Times | 4/10/16

Behind the Headline
In Low-Income Schools, Parents Want Teachers Who Teach
Education Next | Summer 2007


A new survey of black and Latino parents finds that they want their children challenged more in school and that lack of funding, inadequate teachers, and racism are the main reasons why their children do not get as good an education as white children.

As Sonali Kohli of the Los Angeles Times explains

Headlines and talk shows across the country often feature parents worried about their children’s stressful workload or pulling their kids out of new standardized tests.

But an umbrella organization of civil rights groups contends that there is a huge population of people whose voices are missing when talking about the needs of schools. In a nationally representative survey of black and Latino parents in the U.S., the Leadership Conference Education Fund found that these parents care about having good teachers, more money for their schools and a more challenging curriculum for their students. 

The poll was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research and commissioned by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Education Fund, the nonprofit arm of a group of civil rights organizations including the National Council of La Raza, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and national teachers unions. It surveyed 400 black parents and 400 Latino parents, with a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points for each.

The 2015 EdNext poll on school reform included results broken down by race. The complete results of that poll are available here.

A study by Lars Lefgren and Brian Jacob looks at differences in the kinds of teachers preferred by low-income and high-income parents.

They write

Are test scores the educational outcomes that parents value most? We tackle this question by examining the types of teachers that parents request for their elementary school children. We find that, on average, parents strongly prefer teachers whom principals describe as best able to promote student satisfaction, though parents also value teacher ability to improve student academics. These aggregate effects, however, mask striking differences across schools. Parents in high-poverty schools strongly value a teacher’s ability to raise student achievement and appear indifferent to student satisfaction. In wealthier schools the results are reversed: parents most value a teacher’s ability to keep students happy.

—Education Next

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