1 In 5 Teachers Say They're Likely Not Returning To School In The Fall

by Cassandra Stone
Originally Published: 
1 In 5 Teachers Say They're Likely Not Returning To School In The Fall

Many teachers say they haven’t been able to properly do their jobs during the pandemic

Even if schools reopen in the fall — and that’s still a big “if” — many teachers say they are unlikely to go back. According to a new poll, nearly two-thirds of teachers say they haven’t been able to properly do their job amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The online poll, conducted by USA Today and research company Ipsos, surveyed over 500 K-12 teachers. Three-fourths of teachers report feeling concerned about students falling behind thanks to distance learning. Many teachers also report working more than usual.

A separate poll for parents with at least one child in grades K-12 finds that six in 10 parents say they would be likely to pursue at-home learning options instead of physically sending their children back to school this fall. Nearly 30% of parents say they are “very likely” to keep their kids home.

The COVID-19 crisis has shined a spotlight on education in the U.S. as nearly every district sent their students home in mid-March and adopted distance learning practices for the remainder of the school year. Many districts and educators were ill-prepared for the abrupt transition, which disproportionately affects low-income students and those with special needs.

According to a separate poll conducted ParentsTogether earlier this month, the coronavirus crisis has exposed and exacerbated existing inequities and millions of families have been left without the resources they need to help their kids succeed.

Most schools in the U.S. do not have concrete plans for the 2020-2021 school year yet, which are presumably dependent on the trajectory of the pandemic and pressure from communities and local governments to reopen or not reopen.

“I’m on a committee with my district talking about the what-ifs, because we don’t have answers on what is going to happen,” said J.W. White, 47, a middle school teacher from Fort Worth, tells USA Today. “The expectation of parents and society is we’re sending our children to be educated in a safe environment, and how we’re going to provide that safe environment is completely unknown.”

Almost all teachers surveyed, a whopping 83%, say they are having a harder time doing their job, and two-thirds say they have had to work more than usual. Two-thirds say they haven’t been able to do their job correctly since starting to teach remotely — with many citing the fact that they hadn’t been prepared well by their district to do so.

Teachers who have been on the job for five years or less are struggling the most with distance teaching — six in 10 say they hadn’t been trained well for the task. Older teachers report having difficulty dealing with technology.

Parents, who have had to step in as remote instructors with their kids in many instances, do report that they understand teachers are giving it their all, however. Seven in 10 say teachers are “working harder now than they ever have.”

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