Poll: Parents and Teens on School and College

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Thursday, September 26, 2013

Poll: Parents and Teens on School and College

According to two new polls (one for parents and another for teenagers):

• U.S. teenagers are much more likely to think their parents are concerned about how they're doing in school than parents seem to be.
    - Teens said they felt the No. 1 concern of parents was their performance in school.
    - Parents themselves ranked performance in school as only the fifth-largest concern about their teens, while concerns about unsafe driving ranked number one.

• When asked if teens were more likely to say they have more opportunities to get ahead than their parents did at the same age:
    - 62% of teens agreed.
    - 41% of parents agreed.

• Regarding whether it is better to be a teenager in America today than decades ago:
    - 54% of teenagers said now is the preferable time to be a teen.
    - Only 18% of parents agreed.

• Both parents (68%) and teens (81%) say they play the greatest role in ensuring teens' success in school.

• When asked about parents' involvement in teens' lives:
    - 66% of parents worried they didn't have sufficient time to focus on their kids.
    - 68% of teens reported that their parents are too closely involved in every aspect of their lives.

• Both parents and teens agreed that college provides a ticket to the middle class and that this benefit outweighs the economic burdens that accompany student loan debt with:
    - 71% of parents saying they expect their kids to go to a four-year college.
    - 69% of teens saying they expect to attend a four-year college...
although statistics show fewer than 40% of high school graduates enroll in four-year colleges.

When asked about paying for four-year degrees:
    - 66% of parents say they are counting on grants and scholarships to help finance the cost of college education.
    - 78% of teens say the same thing...
although only 40% of college students today receive Pell Grant money and far smaller numbers benefit from merit-based scholarships.

This poll, which explored how Americans assess the state of childhood and parenthood, surveyed 1,000 adults by landline and cell phones Sept. 3-7. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. In addition, National Journal conducted a separate online survey of 300 teenagers ages 13 to 18 (only including 18-year-olds who are still in high school); teen participants received a small compensation for responding. The survey is reflective of the demographics of American teens, but it does not carry the same statistical validity as the random phone survey of adults.

Source: National Journal