Since June, researchers from Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA) have been collaborating with Launch Michigan to gather input from a variety of stakeholders, including 9th through 12th grade teachers and principals, kindergarten through 12th grade parents, and community members about the COVID-19 response and remote learning that happened in the spring.
The goal of this work was to assist stakeholders in navigating both the closure and eventual reopening of schools with a specific focus on equity. The research included online surveys, online focus groups, and telephone interviews. Preliminary results were shared publicly in August, with a summary report slated to be released by Launch Michigan soon.
Across all three research methods, several important themes emerged that have implications for policymakers at the state and local levels to consider when operating schools during the 2020–21 school year: (1) equity and access to remote learning technologies; (2) student engagement; (3) communicating with students and teachers, parents, and community members; (4) professional development and additional resources for educators; and (5) child care concerns.
Of note, only 68 percent of the parent respondents said that their children always had sufficient access to both the internet and computer devices during the time that schools were closed in the spring. Even households with multiple computers and robust connectivity reportedly struggled at the time to provide sufficient access with both parents and children needing to complete work from home. Results of the Launch Michigan parent survey support findings from other surveys fielded at the same time.
PPA works extensively on education issues, including research that gathers and analyzes the collective voices of students, educators, parents, and others. For more information about PPA’s education work, contact Dr. Nathan Burroughs at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Daniel Quinn at email@example.com.