By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4) – After a new online poll found nearly 1-in-6 of Denver parents admitted to moving their child out of Denver Public Schools, a coalition of parent groups is urging action. The coalition includes groups Transform Education Now (TEN), African Leadership Group, Stand for Children, and FaithBridge.

Two separate studies found students are learning less online, and parents worry kids have fallen behind academically.

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“Parents are frustrated, lost and are in need of a plan,” Transform Education Now stated on its website, prefacing the data.

The first study was a scientific poll via an online survey by Keating Research. It was conducted between Jan. 4-10 among 647 parents of a K-12th grade school age child in the city of Denver.

Key findings of the Keating poll show:

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  • A majority of parents are satisfied with the learning options that DPS is offering
  • Two-thirds of parents feel that their student is learning less online. The feeling that children are learning less is prevalent among all parents across Denver, encompassing all school board districts
  • Nearly 1-in-6 (17%) of Denver parents say they have moved their child out of DPS remote learning either through home schooling, transferring to a private school, or enrolling in another district
  • The average child is engaged in live, real time instruction with a teacher for four hours or less per day
  • Parents are most likely to feel that their child misses or has a hard time understanding lessons or that their child doesn’t interact or engage online
  • Regular live access to teachers, lessons, and office hours are the most helpful for families navigating online learning during the pandemic

In addition, TEN conducted a survey from mid-December to mid-January, while not randomized, involved 650 Colorado families, with 80% in metro Denver. TEN Parent Fellows conducted hundreds of phone calls, and hundreds more completed an online survey.

(credit: CBS)

While TEN found results similar to Keating, it also found that parents report their children are spending about half the time in live instruction, an average of 15 hours a week, compared to before the pandemic, and that only half feel their children will be prepared to advance to the next grade level.

TEN and the other parent groups have developed three specific measures in their Call to Action and would like the DPS Board to respond with a detailed plan by their next Focus on Achievement session scheduled for Feb. 16.

1. Measure and communicate student progress to parents, who have an urgent desire to understand whether their child is prepared to move to the next grade level.
2. Work with school teams, students and families to develop creative solutions to mitigate learning loss, such as funding expanded learning opportunities, high intensity tutoring and social emotional support and student wellness programming.
3. Work with school teams, students and families to develop a common understanding of what it means to deliver a high-quality free public education to all students in equitable ways.

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Mekialaya White