Poor parents want teachers who teach

What do parents want in their child’s elementary teacher? From Education Next:

Parents in high-poverty schools strongly value a teacher’s ability to raise student achievement and appear indifferent to student satisfaction. In wealthier schools the results are reversed: parents most value a teacher’s ability to keep students happy.

As Eduwonk notes, the parents most concerned with academics are the ones with the least political clout.

About Joanne


  1. The Educator Roundtable has an online petition containing 16 points about why the NCLB Act should be eliminated. I attacked their points on my blog, and the Chair of the Roundtable responded in the comments. Read his comments here http://rightontheleftcoast.blogspot.com/2007/05/anti-nclb-arguments.html#comment-906575396950820104
    and see if he sounds more like the poor parents or more like the rich parents in your blog post.

    Any guesses before you click on the link?

  2. Prof210 says:

    I’ll pass on Darren’s end of this discussion.

    Wealthier parents know they can get tutoring for their kids, move them to a better school and/or help them get into a “good” college. Thus, we can move up on Maslow’s hierarchy and seek happiness for our kids. Poor parents need be concerned that their children can fill out a job application, find a job and stay out of jail. Thus, they need care more about whether the teacher can control the class and impart some useful information.

  3. The statistic I found interesting is that within any given school, there is little difference between the more & less affluent families. That points to the “scarcity of resources” explanation.

    If parents have a lack of confidence in the ability of high-poverty schools to attract & retain competent teachers, naturally the “pushy” parents are going to request the teachers with the best reputation for student achievement. By contrast, the parents in low-poverty schools are less worried about teacher competence and therefore the “pushy” ones are going to request the teachers with the best reputation for being “great with kids”.

  4. Exactly. I can’t believe anyone would be foolish enough to think that wealthy parents don’t care about academic achievement.