SF Parent Coalition sent the following letter via email to SFUSD’s Superintendent Dr. Wayne and Board of Education on July 10th, 2023, to inform them about our results (and your parent feedback) through our Annual Spring Parent Survey.
Dear Superintendent Dr. Wayne and SFUSD Board of Education,
We hope this email finds you well and that you’re all enjoying your summers.
We wanted to bring to your attention the summary results from our Annual Spring Survey of parents in our network from across SFUSD. The survey was filled out by 444 parents from across the district in March 2023, and completed in three languages: English, Spanish, and Chinese. We are sharing the high-level findings with you as you plan for the year ahead. (Graphs also follow below the summary)
- Close to half of parents don’t understand SFUSD’s plans for reading outcomes improvement. Given the literacy program overhaul underway, there’s an important opportunity for increasing external communications with families, educators, and the community about what is underway (and why) to improve reading outcomes for kids. (e.g. We’ve heard much about OUSD’s successful community awareness campaign Rooted in Reading as they embarked on a curriculum overhaul effort, just a few years ago.)
- A large majority of parents say they do understand the district’s growing budget deficit. We are aware of the precarious fiscal outlook for SFUSD, and so are parents in our network. We encourage you to continue to communicate with parents and teachers about the budget decisions we’re facing as a district, and through town halls and input opportunities incorporate us through the decision making process. Community input will be critical as SFUSD determines the baseline level of high-quality education, instruction, and supports for each and every SFUSD student to which it will commit.
- Half of parents don’t understand the priorities of the Board of Education. When Board meetings are primarily public comment, general business, and very little focus on student outcomes, the community has a hard time understanding what the Board of Education is focused on and what it cares about. It’s worth noting that our survey was released in March—we know that later that month the Board of Education began its student outcomes workshops. We hope to see those continue on a monthly basis, and that by next spring’s survey, this percentage/understanding will increase.
- SF Parents’ priorities still resonate. Families believe our SF Parents’ advocacy priorities are very important or among the most important:
- Kids learning to read, at or above grade-level (95%)
- Kids learning to do math, at or above grade-level (92%)
- Fixing the budget deficit and following sound fiscal practices (90%)
- Ensuring opportunities across all middle and high schools so students graduate career-and-college-ready (88%)
- Good governance and ensuring student-centered decision-making (87%)
- Most parents are not seeing improvements at SFUSD since last year. Across all 3 areas surveyed, parents are not confident things are improving at SFUSD in our key priority advocacy areas: 83% of parents surveyed say improvements in literacy are the same or worse than a year ago; 80% of parents feel the budget deficit is the same or worse; 73% feel that effective governance and student-centered leadership is the same or worse than a year ago. Reviewing these results, we think there is an important opportunity for SFUSD to better communicate what it is doing, where it’s progressing in these areas, and why it matters to our 50,000 students.
As mentioned, this survey was completed by 444 parents from across the district, in March 2023, and taken in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Our survey participants were: 53% white, 15% Asian, 9% Latino/x, 8% Multiracial, 5% Black, 1% Filipino/Pacific Islander, 9% Did not answer.
Please let us know if you have any questions about our survey results or would like to meet with us to discuss this or any other matter. We hope you enjoy the remainder of your summers.