Families & the Community

Survey Finds Moms Seeking A More Active Role In Their Children’s Education

By Karla Scoon Reid — January 17, 2014 2 min read
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A new national survey confirms what most American mothers of school-aged children already know: We are the “chief education officers” in our families.

The Sylvan Learning online survey found that 88 percent of mothers of school-aged children believe that they are primarily responsible for their child’s academic success and deserve the so-called CEO title. Most of those surveyed—80 percent—also say that they will take a “more active role” in their children’s education this year.

The online poll, which was released Thursday, was conducted by Harris Interactive in December. The survey of more than 5,000 adults includes 471 mothers of children ages 6-17 living in their household.

Jeffrey Cohen, Sylvan Learning’s chief executive officer, described “chief education officers” as those parents who take a proactive role in their children’s education. CEO moms are working as partners with teachers to ensure their children achieve academic and personal success, Cohen said in a news release.

The Baltimore, Md.-based tutoring company also found that these home-based education executives cite helping their children with homework (44 percent) and understanding their school’s curriculum (35 percent) as their top sources of stress. Almost a third (30 percent) were concerned about the lack of time they had at home to help their children with homework, while 20 percent believe that quality family time is suffering because of their children’s academic responsibilities.

A survey released by the National Center for Families Learning (formerly the National Center for Family Literacy) last fall found that homework causes high anxiety for most parents, regardless of their gender. In that survey, 46.5 percent of parents admitted that they didn’t understand the subject matter.

It’s possible however, that as public school districts across the country work to align their curriculum with the Common Core State Standards, parents’ stress levels about understanding their schools’ coursework will surpass their homework struggles.

A national Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll last August found that 55 percent of parents had never even heard of the common core. But to the contrary, Sylvan Learning’s survey found that 76 percent of mothers understood what the poll described as “the common core-curriculum” at their child’s school. Could it be that more parents are finally learning about the common core?

Meanwhile, the Sylvan Learning poll found that most moms (79 percent) believe that looking outside of their schools for additional academic assistance for their children can be beneficial. Another 62 percent say they want to develop a “long-term plan” to support their children’s education, but are uncertain about where to start.

For those CEO moms looking for guidance, Sylvan Learning offers some tips that are similar to the advice offered by parent-engagement advocates in my recent New Year’s resolutions blog. One Sylvan tip that stands out for me: Be an educational role model for their children. Parents who are daily readers are more likely to have children who read every day, too.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.