Story at a glance

  • Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many students are attending school online and from home.
  • Despite some challenges, high schoolers say there are some perks — and most parents say they’re doing just fine.
  • The recent Black Lives Matter protests have caused students to question their education and demand more.

At the beginning of the school year, it was whether and how students would be headed back to school that was at the center of national conversation. But as school districts muddle through the disarray of guidance from local, state and national authorities, high school students are less concerned about where they’re learning than what they’re learning, according to a recent survey conducted on behalf of Connections Academy and Pearson. 

More than half of the high schoolers polled in a paid online survey of 2,000 parents and their children see a combination of online and in-person learning in the future. Nearly half of the parents said they prefer their children at home, at least until there is a vaccine, and more than half of parents said they plan to keep their children in an online learning program after the pandemic. Nearly three-fourths of parents also believe online learning will stay even after the coronavirus pandemic ends. 


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High schoolers are split on whether they perform better online or in school, 38 percent saying online and 16 percent saying in school, but 81 percent of parents say their child has been self-sufficient and successful while online learning. And while 4 in 10 students were bummed to miss out on prom and major sporting events, many enjoyed being able to work whenever and wherever they wanted. 

The coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot, but the students in the survey said they wanted more change when it came to social and racial issues, especially in light of the police killing of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests. 


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Historians including Harvard's Donald Yacovone have pointed out the ways in which slavery and racism have been whitewashed in textbooks, even going so far as to reinforce racism and white supremacy into the minds of students. A 2018 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that schools were not adequately teaching students, or preparing teachers to teach, the history of slavery in the United States, the effects of which continue generation later. 

And students agree. Almost 7 out of 10 high school students believe history textbooks should be revised and three-fourths of high schoolers said civics classes that highlight social and political issues should become part of the high school norm moving forward. Racism was ranked as the most important social issue to students, followed by education, climate change and gun control. And while it might be too late to make a change in their high school educations, almost 30 percent say they're now reconsidering what they want to study in college. 

As for the parents? More than half of them will settle for a day off school for civic activity like attending a political rally or protesting for a cause.


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Published on Oct 20, 2020