Families & the Community

Many Parents Now Want a More Personalized, Flexible Learning Experience for Their Children

By Alyson Klein — October 27, 2022 2 min read
Image of an after school activity in the garden with parents/
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A majority of parents are now looking for a more personalized, flexible education for their children—a desire likely fueled by experiences from remote and hybrid education during the pandemic.

In fact, a little more than half of parents—52 percent— now want to “direct and tailor” their child’s K-12 experience, according to a report released Oct. 26 by the consulting firm Tyton Partners. That’s compared with just over a fifth who want to follow an “already established path.”

The research was done in collaboration with the Walton Family Foundation, which supports school choice and other options for parents, and Stand Together Trust, which is funded by Charles Koch, a prominent conservative who supports private school vouchers. It was informed in part by a survey of 3,000 K-12 parents, conducted last spring. (The Walton Family Foundation underwrites coverage in Education Week of how schools are providing a wider range of options for how students can learn. The media organization retains sole editorial control over the content in its articles.)

Roughly a quarter of parents say they are looking for at least one of the following: educational programming based around their child’s interests, personalized academic support, more innovative approaches (such as performance assessment and project-based-learning), and other kinds of leeway for their children (such as the opportunity to take courses virtually and more flexibility in scheduling.)

“What we’re hearing from parents is that they want to take greater ownership over their child’s education,” said Romy Drucker, the director of the education program at the Walton Family Foundation. “They feel like they are experts. [They’re] emerging from these last two years with a more holistic sense of what learning can look like. And not just academic learning, but the kind of learning experiences that are going to unlock a child’s interests and passions.”

Despite that interest in personalization, only about a quarter of parents appear to have enough information to customize their child’s learning experience, the report concluded.

Nearly 80 percent of parents believe that “learning can happen anywhere” according to the survey. But children from “underserved” backgrounds were less likely than their peers to have access to learning experiences outside of school including camps, courses, and classes, and community service opportunities, the survey found.

In fact, nearly 40 percent of students from these underserved families didn’t participate in any of the out-of-school learning options listed in the survey, compared with 24 percent of children from more advantaged backgrounds. (The researchers defined underserved as a family that meets any two of the following characteristics: Black, Latino, Indigenous, first-generation college-going, or low-income.)

“This signals a need for [providers] and policymakers to work together to maximize access to out-of-school learning and deliver more equitable pathways for all families,” the report said.

Related Tags:

Events

Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Webinar
How Whole-Child Student Data Can Strengthen Family Connections
Learn how district leaders can use these actionable strategies to increase family engagement in their student’s education and boost their academic achievement.
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
The School to Workforce Gap: How Are Schools Setting Students Up For Life & Lifestyle Success?
Hear from education and business leaders on how schools are preparing students for their leap into the workforce.
Content provided by Find Your Grind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Families & the Community Why Aren’t Parents More Worried About Declines in Student Achievement?
Most parents think their students are doing OK, which could stymie districts’ recovery efforts.
6 min read
Image of a parent helping with homework at home.
E+
Families & the Community How to Respond to Parents' CRT Complaints
Four experts have advice for district leaders on how to craft their messages on diversity, equity, and inclusion lessons and initiatives.
5 min read
People protest outside the offices of the New Mexico Public Education Department's office on Nov. 12, 2021, in Albuquerque. The education department proposed changes to the social studies curriculum that critics describe as a veiled attempt to teach critical race theory. Supporters say the new curriculum, which includes ethnic studies, is "anti-racist."
People protest outside the offices of the New Mexico Public Education Department on Nov. 12, 2021, in Albuquerque. The protesters were reacting to proposed changes to the social studies curriculum that they said were a veiled attempt to teach critical race theory.
Cedar Attanasio/AP
Families & the Community Virginia Education Tip Line Channels Concerns From Parents
The majority of emails expressed anger or frustration with teachers, administrators, and school policies.
4 min read
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks with reporters after touring a Loudoun County elections facility at the County Office of Elections, in Leesburg, Va., Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Youngkin inspected ballot scanning machines undergoing logic and accuracy testing.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks with reporters in Leesburg, Va.
Cliff Owen/AP
Families & the Community These Groups Are Pushing Back Against 'Divisive' Parents' Rights Policies
A coalition of education advocacy and family support groups wants to redefine what constitutes parents' rights.
3 min read
Illustration of adults and child in a classroom.
A-Digit/DigitalVision Vectors