Technology Trumps Quality Teaching for Parents in the Northeast and West

Parents in the Northeast and West believe up-to-date technology is more important than the quality of their teachers. The reverse is true — that high-quality teachers are more important than technology — in the South and Midwest.

Those are among several results of a survey of 600 parents conducted by research firm Toluna on behalf of the Follett Corp.

Nationally, parents generally feel that both are almost equally as important, with 29 percent believing teaching is most crucial while 28 percent believe technology is, according to the survey.

"Ideally, the best teachers are collaborating with their students to use technology in ways that demonstrate what they are learning is applicable to their lives, both inside and outside the classroom," said Rosalind Wiseman, a parenting educator and author.

When asked to rank a series of items typically believed to be necessary for an effective education, 41 percent of parents in the Northeast and 31 percent of those in the West chose up-to-date technology. On the other hand, 41 percent of parents in the Midwest and 33 percent of those in the South chose high-quality teachers.

Nationally, parents ranked the following ingredients to achieve a quality education in terms of importance:

  • Quality teachers 29 percent;
  • Up-to-date technology 28 percent;
  • Class size 13 percent;
  • Personalized learning 8 percent;
  • Access to additional teacher instructions 7 percent;
  • Quality textbooks 6 percent;
  • Ample curriculum funding 4 percent;
  • Ample school supplies 4 percent; and
  • Other, 1 percent.

The largest concern parents have for their children, held by 33 percent of them, was that their children would adjust well to the classroom setting while making new friends, according to the survey.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.