#GoBeyondGrades Campaign Underscores the Urgency for Parents to Sign Their Kids Up for Summer Learning

 New research showing 9 in 10 K-12 parents believe their children are on grade level—a significant barrier to academic recovery. Billboards across six major cities shed light on parent perception gap.

WASHINGTON (April 5, 2023) – There is an urgent need for students to enroll in academic recovery programs this summer, but many parents aren’t aware their children are behind. New research released today by Learning Heroes finds that 9 in 10 K-12 parents nationally believe their child is at or above grade level, while the Nation’s Report Card shows just 29% of eighth graders proficient in reading and 26% proficient in math.

At a time when the Education Recovery Scorecard and other studies show a significant increase in learning gaps, especially in communities hardest hit by the pandemic, addressing this disconnect is key to more parents seeking additional supports such as summer learning and tutoring for their children. Parent perceptions stem, understandably, from report cards and the new research finds that 80% of parents report their child receives mostly B’s or better.

“While this is an all-hands-on-deck moment in public education, most parents are not aware they need to be in the boat,” said Cindi Williams, co-founder of Learning Heroes and mother of two. “Parents are problem solvers, but we can’t expect them to solve a problem they don’t know exists. Now is the time to partner with our teachers to find out how we can use the summer months to address missed instruction.”

Learning Heroes, National Summer Learning Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Clear Channel Outdoor and Univision have come together to launch #GoBeyondGrades, a national parent awareness campaign in English and Spanish expected to reach more than 150 million Americans. In Boston, Chicago, Houston, New York City, Sacramento County and Washington, D.C., billboards, transit shelters and digital screens will juxtapose parent perceptions of their child’s grade level achievement with statewide assessment results in eighth grade in math and reading. The ads encourage parents to visit GoBeyondGrades.org, an online resource parents can go to search and sign up for district, community-based, and online summer learning programs.

The city-by-city breakdown of the survey findings show the urgency

City 8th Grade ELA State Test (2022)

(Proficient and above)

Parent Perception Data (March 15, 2023)

Percent of parents who believe their child is at/above grade level in reading

Boston 30% 85%
Chicago 22% 91%
DC 31% 83%
Houston 58% 92%
NYC 55% 93%
Sacramento County 45% 90%


City 8th Grade Math State Test (2022)

(Proficient and above)

Parent Perception

(March 15, 2023)

Percent of parents who believe their child is at/above grade level in math

Boston 23% 92%
Chicago 15% 90%
DC 10% 84%
Houston 34% 92%
NYC 26% 90%
Sacramento County 28% 87%

“As we watch the $190 billion in federal recovery funds time out, business and community leaders must act now so every dollar is invested in ensuring that our students get help this summer. We know the economic impact on our students personally and on our communities collectively will be devastating,” said Caitlin Codella Low, Vice President of Policy and Programs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“Research shows the pandemic has negatively impacted the academic, physical and mental health of most children, but especially the most vulnerable. Summer learning has been identified as a key national response strategy. National Summer Learning Association is proud to be working with Learning Heroes and thousands of schools, non-profits, corporations and government agencies to bring more high quality, summer learning experiences to even more children in 2023 and beyond,” said Aaron Philip Dworkin, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association.

Parents 2022 research released by Learning Heroes found that 89% of parents and 88% of teachers agree that teaming up is critical to help overcome the pandemic’s impact on children’s learning.

The surveys were conducted in March 2023 by Edge Research. The research and the campaign are supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Overdeck Family Foundation, and Citadel founder and CEO Kenneth C. Griffin. Clear Channel Outdoors provided additional in-kind support.

Click here for one family’s story of the perception gap.

Multimedia materials, including B-roll and soundbites, are available here for review.

Howard Winchester

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