‘High Anxiety' Among Parents About Upcoming School Year: Survey

A national poll by consulting firm Deloitte found widespread anxiety as students prepare for an uncertain return to class.

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Parents are worried about the new school year -- and how it will impact their families.

Deloitte, an international consulting and audit firm, recently released results of its annual back-to-school survey. In most years, the survey has focused on how much families are spending to get kids ready for class, from school supplies to new clothes. This year, of course, is unlike any other, and the survey reflects uncertainty for parents.

Deloitte researchers talked to 1,200 parents nationwide. Among their findings:

  • 66% of parents said they were anxious about sending their children back to school.
  • Only 43% agreed with the statement, "Remote learning makes children academically ready for the next grade."
  • The sputtering economy is taking its toll. 38% of parents expressed "high financial concern" about the year ahead.
  • Buying habits have shifted, too. Deloitte said parents it spoke with expected to spend 37 % more on computers and related electronics. But they're cutting back on traditional school supplies by 13%, and spending on new clothes is trending downward, too.

Karla Martin, Managing Director of Retail Practice for Deloitte, told NBC Bay Area the survey further exposes economic and educational challenges many families already faced before the pandemic.

"For kids that are on the wrong side of the digital divide, or families that are on the cliff, where they don't have as much access to digital technology to begin with, I think there's even greater concern about just the quality of education," Martin said. "Those kids are doing a lot with textbooks that are old."

Martin said the financial pressures aren't limited to low-income households.

"Even in our family, we're talking about back-to-school wants and back-to-school needs," she said. "We're directing our spending toward back-to-school needs, whereas in previous years, some of the things that you 'want' could slip in there as well."

You can click here to see the full Deloitte survey report.

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We'll share results from the survey later this week.

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