Parents have high aspirations for their children. Eight in 10 parents think it’s important for their child to earn a college degree, with African-American and Hispanic parents more likely to think it’s absolutely essential or very important. Nearly 9 in 10 parents, regardless of race, income, geography, and education levels, believe their child is achieving at or above grade level. Yet national data indicates only about one-third of students actually perform at that level. In 8th grade mathematics, while 44% of white students scored at the proficient level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2017, only 20% of Hispanic and 13% of African-American students did so.

This 2018 research report, commissioned by Learning Heroes, includes a deep segmentation of the parent population, informed by behavioral science, to help think about how to reach different subsets of parents. It also includes Learning Heroes’ first-ever nationally representative survey of public school teachers in grades 3-8, in addition to parents, to understand the barriers to better communication. Learning Heroes was founded to help parents become their children’s best education advocates. Since 2016, the organization has conducted extensive research to understand how K-8 parents think, feel, prioritize, and talk about their children and their public schools in order to better equip parents with the information they need to help their children succeed.