Educators for Excellence New Study Takes the Temperature of the American Education System from National Sample of Diverse Educators
“Voices from the Classroom 2022” is The Only Survey to Examine How Educators of Color Think About the Education System in a Post-Pandemic World.
Study Also Places a Special Focus on The Role of Mental Health Education in The Classroom and How Lessons on Racial Equity and Racism Should be Taught.
Thursday, April 28, 2022 - NEW YORK, NY - Educators for Excellence, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, today released the results of their first of its kind, nationally focused BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) survey of teachers which uncovered that although the overall perspective of American teachers in past surveys is notable, those results are often incomplete because 80 percent of teachers in the United States are white.
Voices from the Classroom 2022, shows that BIPOC teachers face unique challenges and have different needs from their white counterparts.
“Teachers are the backbone of our society’s anatomy,” said Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Educators for Excellence, Evan Stone. “The success of this nation is nurtured in our classrooms where young leaders take their first steps as lifelong seekers of knowledge. Teachers are the keepers of knowledge and their level of career satisfaction sets the pace for how this nation moves forward, especially during these unprecedented times. I hope the results of this study can serve as a blueprint for school boards and education systems across the nation. How we recover from this pandemic will shape our future and I hope we learn from our mistakes instead of running back to structures that didn’t have bright futures in mind for everyone.”
The “Great Resignation”- the continued voluntary mass exodus of teachers from the classroom - has affected many industries in the U.S. due to the pandemic’s effect on the American working conditions. The results from Voices from the Classroom 2022 have corroborated the shift and the shock that many educators and students have felt since the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The special focus on BIPOC teachers mainly highlighted issues, such as the lack of leadership opportunities and professional development that BIPOC teachers already experience.
“Teachers are supposed to just pick up and go on as normal as if nothing has happened,” said Dharini Dharamadasa, an Intervention Coordinator from Los Angeles. “Everybody else hasn’t had to do that. In every single sector, people have been given flexibility. Teachers have been asked to put that aside and work for the greater good, when the greater good is not really working for us.”
The emphasis on higher salaries for teachers across the board is a healthy incentive, but according to this survey, BIPOC teachers need more support and opportunities for professional development.
“This survey taught us that we are only as strong as our weakest pain point,” said Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Educators for Excellence, Sydney Morris. “Everything is connected, from the lack of shared knowledge regarding our country’s history with racism to the reasons black and brown teachers continue to be the ones on the chopping block when layoffs come to claim their victims. Yes our teachers need and deserve higher salaries because everyone who becomes anyone has once needed a teacher. But we must acknowledge that teachers now need more. I hope that we are able to take the knowledge we have gained from Voices from the Classroom and that we use it to ensure that our children are getting the best education possible from teachers who are being treated like their job matters.”
Highlights from the Survey:
- 52% of BIPOC teachers reported that they are likely to stay in teaching for their entire career compared to 86% non-BIPOC teachers.
- 41% of BIPOC teachers believe more leadership opportunities and professional development are the better incentive as opposed to the national sample which showed that 78% of teachers saw high salaries as the better incentive.
How teachers address the racial reckoning in our current society has also caused major backlash from parents and school boards about what is and is not appropriate. According to Voices from the Classroom 2022, the overwhelming majority of teachers agree that students should be learning about the issues of race, racism and the history of minority populations in the classroom. However, many teachers do not feel that they have the resources to teach these subjects and feel unprepared to have these difficult conversations with their students.
Jennifer Lopez, a fifth grade teacher from California said that, “If the time isn’t taken to do it right and teachers aren’t trained correctly, they could do even more damage.”
Voices from the Classroom finds real independent data that explores the reasons for which the nation is experiencing a teacher shortage, particularly with BIPOC teachers. The effects of this shortage is already being felt in classrooms across the nation and is being further damaged by the fact that it has become more difficult to hire new teachers. Voices from the Classroom provides insight where solutions lie, with our teachers themselves.
Designed by teachers for teachers, the Voices from the Classroom was conducted with a national sample of over 1,000 educators that accurately represents the demographics of the profession. The poll was taken during the height of the Omicron variant breakout of COVID-19. While teachers designed this survey, Gotham Research Group helped ensure it was valid and reliable.