Millennial Parents and Education

By 2016, around half of all Millennial women were moms, and each year more than one million more become mothers.¹ As the oldest edge of the Millennial generation — those born between 1981 and 1996 — enter their mid-thirties, many Millennials now have children who are public school students, and some even have children who are high-school aged.

The Millennial generation has grown up in a time of rapid change. Technological change has meant that their entire adult lives have happened alongside the rise of the internet and mobile technology. Economic change has made education after high school more essential than ever, but at the same time, tough economic circumstances for many Millennials have raised doubts for some about the value of college. Cultural change has re-shaped families and parents’ roles, with even more two-income and single-parent households trying to find ways to raise their children and make ends meet.²

As a result, the Walton Family Foundation and Echelon Insights wanted to better understand what these Millennial parents think about today’s public schools, and specifically what their expectations are for what schools will do for their children. We conducted a series of focus groups of Millennial parents in Orlando, FL, Minneapolis, MN and Richmond, VA and listened firsthand to a demographically diverse group of young parents about their hopes and dreams for their children, and the role they expect their public schools to play. Then, we conducted a representative national survey of 800 Millennial parents to better understand their expectations for the public schools, and the responsibilities they place on themselves and on the public schools.

We explored how Millennial parents think their schools are doing, and what they think schools should be doing in terms of equipping students with academic and life skills. We sought parents’ opinions on ways to measure how schools and students are doing. And we got their take on how schools should be held accountable. What they shared is examined in the pages of this report, broken out into five sections:

I. How are schools doing?

II. What should schools be doing?

III. How can we measure how students are doing?

IV. How can we measure how schools are doing?

V. How should we hold schools accountable?

Read the report here.