UNCF Report Provides Snapshot of Black Parents’ Perceptions on K-12 Education

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) has released a new report titled, “Hear Us, Believe Us: Centering African American Parent Voices in K-12 Education.” The study outlines the experiences, challenges, and perceptions of African American parents regarding their relationship with their children’s education.

The UNCF report found that 57 percent of Black parents agreed that it was extremely important for their child to attend college, and an additional 27 percent indicated it was quite important. Notably, in schools where the majority of teachers were Black, 71 percent of Black parents agreed attending college was extremely important for their child, compared to only 53 percent of Black parents whose children’s school had few or no Black teachers.

About 51 percent of parents surveyed agreed that their child’s school made them feel respected, but parents of children who attend schools with more Black teachers were even more likely to feel respected. However despite this positive majority, only 31 percent of parents surveyed believed their child’s school did a very good job at teaching students of all races fairly and addressing racial issues in the classroom. Also, 80 percent of Black parents reported safety as the most important factor when choosing what school for their child to attend. A large majority stated violence and unsafe school conditions are the most important issues facing Black children today.

Another notable finding from the report was that a majority of African American parents believe their children are not given the same educational opportunities for success as their White peers. The study found 65 percent of Black parents surveyed believe the lack of African American students from their communities enrolling in college is a serious problem.

The UNCF report provides numerous suggestions on how to improve the educational opportunities and well-being among Black children and their parents. Foremost, increasing the number of Black teachers and educational administrators, creating parental involvement opportunities, including African American history in the classroom, and emphasizing student safety should be top priorities for K-12 schools across the country. The authors also suggest higher education institutions make intentional efforts to inform Black students and families about college opportunities and to create career pipelines for Black teachers in local school districts.

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