Saturday, August 15, 2009

Great Parents Make Great Schools Work.

According to “The Economy’s Impact on Back to School,” a report issued by GreatSchools and Harris Interactive, nearly two in three parents (64%) believe that the economic recession has made it even more vital to volunteer in the classroom this school year.

The good news for teachers facing cutbacks at their schools? 53% of parents surveyed say they plan to volunteer at their child's school this year, an increase of 20% in average over last year's survey. The greatest rise is in African American parents: an impressive 60% plan to do so this year, up from just 23% last year.

But there's bad news as well--nearly half of those enthusiastic parents cite the lack of volunteer opportunities as one of the main challenges standing in the way of their being more involved in their child's education.

“As American families prepare for back-to-school season in this economic climate -- when family, school and state budgets are tighter than ever -- there is a silver lining: parents,” said Bill Jackson, founder and president of GreatSchools. “ is a wake-up call to parents and teachers alike to clearly communicate on ways they can work together.”

The study also looked into the ways economic cutbacks have influenced the school choices parents make:
  • More than three in five parents (61%) believe the quality of education will suffer because of school cutbacks.
  • Nearly one out of every four parents (24%) have begun rethinking the type of school their children should attend going forward.
How prepared are parents for school?
  • 93% plan to buy school supplies ahead of time.
  • 47 percent of (only 47 percent?!) find out ahead of time which subjects their child will be learning.
  • 39% have kids start reading more frequently as the school year gets closer.
  • 33% cut down on TV and video games.
  • Almost 90% plan to save money on school supplies this year by reusing old supplies and waiting until after school starts to avoid unnecessary purchases.

Inspiring Action: The Great Parents Pledge

The Great Parents Pledge from GreatSchools is focused on inspiring parents to commit to greater levels of involvement in the coming school year. Parents choose GreatSchools to connect with each other – to find the right schools, share stories and advice, and get their parenting questions answered. A Webby Award-winning site, GreatSchools is now expanding its reach and impact with its College Bound initiative. The GreatSchools website also features tips on avoiding the summer ‘brain drain’, a shopping guide for affordable school supplies, and a back-to-school quiz to help families get off to a smart start. For more information, please visit

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