As most parents are aware test scores are still lower than they were prior to 2020. Despite PA schools returning to in-person education in the fall of 2020 test scores have dropped year over year for the past 2-3 years. While masking, social distancing, online learning, and aggressive quarantine measures may be obvious contributing factors there is another major factor worth considering. A factor which most school boards are clearly ignoring. In fact, this factor could be a major contributor to the teacher shortages as well. The factor that seems to be overlooked is parental trust.
When parents trust teachers studies show improved involvement and support for students as well as schools. When parents are more involved test scores inevitably improve. In fact, prior to the unnecessary covid measures experts were touting the value of trust to increase scores for well over a decade. It was even discovered urban areas areas where test scores trend lower the trust factor can have an even more significant impact. It seems that in urban areas which are resuming misguided covid measures, while trust is already eroding and test scores have dropped, a storm is brewing. Meanwhile the failure of school boards and agencies statewide to apologize for the harm of failed covid protocols has parents still fuming. Overall parental trust has been repeatedly demonstrated to be a important component for effective public education.
As evidence of the declining parental trust just look at the tremendous surge in homeschooling. Reports indicate that many parents decided to continue or opt in for homeschooling after discovering inadequate and even inappropriate teaching in public schools. Could it even be those parents willing to assume full responsibility who are withdrawing the very students which previously were top performers? It certainly seems unlikely that the least engaged parents, and thereby lowest scoring students, would be among those opted out of the public schools.
While trust is at an all time low schools seem intent on injecting ideologies into education. Online learning and covid measures that led parents into school board meetings has helped revealed an abundance of disturbing discoveries. Parents nationwide have been shocked to discover things such as obscene reading material, sexualized curriculums, and critical race theories. Such concerns have motivated parents all over the country to organize and launch 100’s of grassroots groups focused on restoring sanity and transparency in education. Meanwhile teachers unions, education agencies, school boards, and democrats have resisted the increased scrutiny which has eroded trust even further.
Thankfully some schools and officials have taken steps to restoring parent’s trust. Bills like those passed under the leadership of Governor DeSantis which protect parent’s rights are victories worth celebrating. Unfortunately special interest groups are intent on fighting against any measure which interferes with indoctrination efforts. Schools like Central Bucks(CBSD) is currently facing a lawsuit over it’s efforts to remove obscene materials and yet still has the courage to ban activist’s flags. School boards like this ought to be encouraged and held up as an example for districts throughout the entire state to follow. If CBSD’s efforts build trust with parents this is sure to pay off in student test scores. While special interests may take issue with such actions we the parents must make it clear that trust matters and our right to direct the care, upbringing, and education of our children will not be infringed.