Survey: 59 Percent Say to Give Students Option for In-person or Distance Learning

Fifty-eight Percent Say Mental Health Negatively Impacted
Thursday, August 6, 2020

In a survey emailed to constituents, Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) asked for their thoughts on the distance learning and its impact. Respondents overwhelmingly disagreed with the Governor’s and school boards’ order to close schools and offer only distancing learning. Fifty-nine (59) percent of the respondents believe students should have the option to attend class in-person or online.

Forty-five (45) percent said that distance learning in the spring was ineffective. Nearly 59 percent strongly agreed that school closures would have a negative impact on student learning.

“Distancing learning is an experiment that failed our students in the spring,” said Senator Nielsen. “Given the evidence and students’, parents’ and teachers’ concerns, why are the Governor and school boards caving in to the California Teachers Association’s selfish demands at the expense of students’ learning and mental health?”

“As a teacher and parent, I have been afforded the opportunity to see the impact from varied perspectives. School closures have been detrimental to the mental health of students, teachers and even parents,” a constituent from Roseville wrote in response to the survey.

The teacher and parent added, “The educational experience has been inequitable for students in our state. I even see the inequities within my own district and site. I truly believe that the immense financial impact (millions of dollars per district) of bringing students back to school with the modifications that have been prescribed is what has driven us to distance learning. We don’t have the resources to make it happen. Most teachers want to be back in the classroom. Distance learning was not effective in the spring, we have little faith that it will be effective this fall.”

Special needs and students of disadvantaged background have been most affected. When asked about the impact on special education and related specialized services, nearly 66 percent said school closures had a negative impact.

A mom from Chico commented, “I have an autistic child and distance learning did not work for her. She has regressed considerably during this time away from school and services. While I worry about all children falling behind, my child is already significantly behind her peers and I fear this gap will only become larger without access to school support.”

Senator Nielsen's school survey was sent to 189,109 constituents. Of these, 62,788 opened this survey, for a 34% “open rate.” Of those who opened this survey, 13,038 constituents responded, representing a truly extraordinary response rate of 21%, far exceeding any survey that Senator Nielsen has ever conducted.