Blended Learning May Be Hardest on Kids

New Survey Shows Parents of Kids in Part-Time School More Concerned About Kids’ Learning, Mental Health

A new ParentsTogether Action survey of 1,100 parents shows that parents of school children in blended, or hybrid, models — where kids go to in-person school part-time and also do remote learning — may be struggling more than children in either all-remote or full-time, in-person arrangements.

Across multiple measures, parents of kids in blended learning expressed greater concern than parents of kids in remote learning or regular school:

  • 62% of blended parents said their kids’ mental health had gotten worse since the pandemic began, vs. 46% of remote parents and 50% of in-person parents.
  • 38% of blended parents said remote learning was going “poorly” or “extremely poorly” vs. 26% of all-remote parents.
  • 29% of blended parents said they thought their child was learning “hardly any” of what they’d learn in regular school vs. 19% of all-remote parents.
  • 56% of blended parents were very concerned or somewhat concerned about their children “falling behind/forgetting things they’ve learned” vs. 49% of all-remote parents and 41% of in-person parents.
  • 54% of blended parents were very concerned or somewhat concerned about their children not getting enough instructional support vs. 45% of all-remote parents and 35% of in-person parents.
  • 34% of blended parents were very concerned that their child might “get bad grades, fail, or not finish their grade” this year vs. 26% of all-remote parents and 24% of in-person parents.
  • These trends held even when parents who had the option to do in-person school, but instead chose remote learning for their children, were removed from the analysis.

“Parents and schools are struggling to balance the very real need to protect the health of kids, teachers and families with urgent educational and mental health imperatives. These data suggest blended models may not be a great solution — and they underscore the need to provide regular in-person learning for children and families whose health allows it while providing high quality remote instruction for the many families who aren’t ready or able to do in-person school,” said Justin Ruben, Co-Director of ParentsTogether Action. “We urge school districts to use the relief funds coming from Congress to provide individualized mental health support, and academic supports like tutoring, to all of the kids who are struggling right now, including those who’ve had a rough time with blended learning.”