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Parents Share Reflections, Frustrations about State Report Cards

Parents Share Reflections, Frustrations about State Report Cards

Data Quality Campaign’s Show Me the Data 2023 report demonstrates lack of state progress on report cards, highlights parent attitudes

WASHINGTON (June 22, 2023)Parents and families are the intended audience for state report cards, yet they often cannot find the information they need to support their students or, worse, don’t know that it should be available to them. After seven years of reviewing report cards from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) Show Me the Data 2023 report focuses on report cards with fresh eyes—centering the opinions of parents about their state report cards. 

“Families deserve a full picture of their school’s performance and clear information about how schools are serving their students. This year, we turned to parents to hear directly about how their own state report cards are working for them—and we heard frustration, confusion, and calls for more information,” said Data Quality Campaign President and CEO Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger. “Report cards are a critical resource for parents, families, and the public to understand school progress and student success. State leaders must heed the calls of parents asking for more information that is easy to find, understand, and use.”

State report cards serve as the transparency baseline for parent and public understanding of how schools are serving students. But states are no longer making forward progress, and in some places they are moving backward. State and federal leaders should turn their attention back to these resources and ask themselves again whether they are producing tools that meet the needs of their most important audiences—and as a result providing the public with information on school quality and student success.

Hear from parents about their own experiences trying to use state report cards to learn about the schools in their communities: 

Charis Davis, parent of a second and seventh grader: “If we don’t have that information, we will find it. That’s the thing. We will find it. But if you give it to us and give us that power and we’re working together, I think we’ll have better outcomes.” 

Debra Garrett, parent of a third, fifth, and seventh grader: “It’s very much set up where, if you’re not a data person, you’re not going to understand it. That’s what it feels like.”

Megan Pirie, parent of a third, fourth, seventh, and ninth grader: “It does seem like every step we take forward, we take two back—like we’re doing this cha-cha move. And there’s so much more that could be done. The best successes we’ve had are where we’ve involved parents and caregivers.”

Watch what parents had to say about their report cards. 

View the full Show Me the Data 2023 report here.


The Data Quality Campaign is a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization leading the effort to ensure that data works for everyone navigating their education and workforce journeys. For more information, go to and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.