Follett Press Releases

Teachers or Technology? Parents of K-8 Kids Differ Geographically Over Which is More Important

Tech Proves Most Important in the Northeast and West; Midwest, South Focus on Teachers

WESTCHESTER, IL, Sep 2, 2015 – What do parents think is more crucial to the success of today’s students – excellent teachers or first-rate technology? The answer depends on where you live, according to a new nationwide survey of nearly 600 parents commissioned by leading educational services provider Follett Corporation and conducted by research firm Toluna.

Parents of K-8 students who live in the South and Midwest think having high quality teachers is the most important ingredient to providing a successful education. Meanwhile, parents in the Northeast and in the West believe the greatest factor in determining student success is technology-based.  When asked to rank a series of items conducive to an effective education, 41 percent of parents in the Northeast and 31 percent of parents in the West chose up-to-date technology as the most important factor. That’s in stark contrast to the 41 percent of parents in the Midwest and 33 percent of parents from the South who focused on high quality teachers, according to the survey.

While quality teachers edged out technology by 1 percent and constituted the top two answers in the survey, there are clear differences in points of view from parents in different regions, which may relate to the ever expanding role of technology in the way people live, work, learn and play.

“While educating our children to use technology is absolutely critical to any young person’s education, it is teachers who bring the learning process to life,” said Rosalind Wiseman, a parenting educator and New York Times best-selling author. “Ideally, the best teachers are collaborating with their students to use technology in ways that demonstrate what they are learning is applicable to their lives both inside and outside the classroom.”

Here is the full list of what U.S. parents think is most vital to a successful educational experience for their children: 29 percent quality teachers; 28 percent technology; 13 percent class size; 8 percent personalized learning; 7 percent access to additional teacher instructions; 6 percent quality textbooks; 4 percent ample curriculum funding; 4 percent ample school supplies; 1 percent other.

These parents were also asked to identify and rank their biggest fears as their children head back to school, and their ability to adjust to a classroom setting topped the list. Nationally, 33 percent of parents said their biggest worry consists of whether or not their children will adjust positively to a classroom setting while making new friends and navigating the social scene. For more details on the survey, go to Follett's back-to-school page for parents and students on  

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About Follett Corporation |

For more than 140 years, Follett has been a trusted partner to pre-K and K-12 schools, districts, and college campuses, taking care of the critical details that make it easier for schools to run, teachers to teach and students to learn. Every day, Follett serves over half of the students in the United States, and works with 70,000 schools as a leading provider of education technology, services and print and digital content. Follett is higher education's largest campus retailer and a hub for school spirit and community, operating more than 1,150 local campus stores and 1,600 virtual stores across the continent. Headquartered in Westchester, Illinois, Follett is a $2.6 billion privately held company.

Media Contact:
Lauren Mucci

Elio DiStaola