FLORIDA — Half of Floridians who responded to an exclusive Spectrum/Ipsos poll believe that their children are in danger of falling behind in their education because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ipsos, the world's third-largest market research company, conducted a poll of 1,800 adult Florida residents in early October, focusing on the Tampa and Orlando metropolitan areas. It was a wide-ranging project, asking about everything from President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to the current state of education, Gov. Ron DeSantis’s tenure so far, and more.

What You Need To Know

Educating children during the age of the lockdown was a major topic of the poll, and one key question asked whether parents are worried their children are falling behind in their education.

“Yes,” says one Ruskin mother in a subsequent interview with Spectrum News. The mother, who asked not to be named, has a 7-year-old daughter who is in her school’s gifted program, and has had trouble with her studies since schools originally closed in March. “She was excited at first, but within the first week, she was like, ‘this sucks.’”

Fifty percent of Floridians polled agreed strongly or somewhat to the possibility that their children are falling behind. Respondents who agreed were broken down fairly consistently among the statewide, Tampa, and Orlando demographics of the poll, with 21 percent, 24 percent, and 28 percent strongly agreeing, respectively.


Tampa Bay respondents skewed more unfavorably regarding the current state of education.

“She doesn’t even get enough time on her Zoom calls, and the independent assignments are not getting explained,” says the Ruskin mother. “It’s not like she can raise her hand and ask for clarification. She’s getting Fs, which she’s never gotten before. I’m not a teacher, I’m a mom.”

She says her daughter is on two waiting lists for area schools but is still struggling with distance learning as she works her way through the second grade.

Sunrise veterinary assistant Angelica Acevedo also thinks her 5-year-old Naomi is missing out on both educational and social experiences, particularly since it’s her first year of school and she’s doing it from home.

“Absolutely,” Acevedo says. “Her grades are fine, but I think that maybe mentally and emotionally she’s kind of struggling with it.”

When schools in Sunrise reopened a couple of weeks ago, Acevedo struggled mightily with sending Naomi to physical class.

“I can see she’s getting antsy at home,” she says. “I feel like she’s missing out on things, and, as a parent, I think, ‘What’s the right thing to do?' "

For this Spectrum/Ipsos poll, conducted from October 7-15, 2020, a sample of 1,800 Floridians over 18 years old were interviewed online in English.

The sample includes an oversample of 400 respondents in both Orlando and Tampa for a total of 620 and 604 interviews in those respective regions.

Statewide results have a +/-2.6% credibility interval. It is +/-4.5% for regional results.

You can dive deeper into the poll data here:

Read it: Exclusive Spectrum News/Ipsos Poll Findings and Methodology

Editor’s Note (10/23/20) – The net approve/disapprove values for the following subsets of Question 21 have been updated by Ipsos: Black Americans receive equal treatment to white Americans in this country, Racism is a significant problem in Florida and Lately, I do not feel safe in my community.