Majority of Teachers Don’t Recommend the Profession as Schools Don’t Meet Needs of Underserved Students
[NATIONAL] (April 26, 2023) - Educators for Excellence (E4E), a teacher-led advocacy organization, released its 6th annual Voices from the Classroom teacher survey. The survey asked 1,000 teachers from across the nation, plus an oversample of 300 teachers of color, their opinions on key classroom issues, including curricula, assessments, teacher workloads, teacher salaries, and more. In 2023, two-thirds of teachers say schools are not meeting the needs of underserved students.
Voices from the Classroom 2023 comes on the heels of the 40th anniversary of the publication of A Nation At Risk, the landmark education report that focused on the failings of the education system. Forty years later, while we’ve made progress to better understand the varied educational experiences across student populations, we now see how truly deep these educational inequities are. Students are struggling academically, trying to make up for COVID-related learning losses, and the gaps among student subgroups have only widened.
“When it comes to the prioritization of our students and their education, our nation is still at risk,” said Sydney Morris, co-founder and co-CEO of E4E. “Compared to any other in-school factor, teachers have the greatest impact on students. Unfortunately, the survey shows us that teachers do not have the professional autonomy, support, or resources to effectively support their students, especially those who have been historically underserved, leaving many educators overwhelmed and disheartened.”
“If our nation is to ensure that every student has access to a great education, we must listen to and engage our teachers,” says Denise Forte, president and CEO of The Education Trust. “Teachers are critical to ensuring that every student, especially Black and Latino students and students from low-income backgrounds, receive a high-quality education and our nation must do a better job supporting and rewarding the hard work that educators do each day.”
Teachers have hit their breaking point, and while 80% of teachers say they are committed to staying in the classroom, only 14% would recommend the profession. If we do not work urgently to improve the conditions of the profession, in thirty years, there may be no one left to educate our nation’s children. American education cannot be the great equalizer it is promised to be if the backbone of the system, its teachers, are not supported and successful.
Recognizing the many, varied roles that teachers play to help increasingly diverse student populations learn and thrive, 87% of teachers report that they have too many responsibilities, making it difficult to be effective. While more have received materials, guidance, or training to support their diverse learners and implement culturally relevant instruction in their classrooms when compared to 2021, it is not enough to overcome significant challenges that teachers face everyday:
- A fifth of teachers have been told by a member of their school community to limit culturally relevant-based conversations.
- Only 36% of teachers report they have the curricular materials needed for effective instruction.
- Only 56% of teachers believe that their state assessment accurately measures student mastery of content standards.
- Two-thirds of all teachers, and half of teachers of color, report that higher salaries are the best way to attract and retain teachers.
All teachers, and particularly teachers of color, overwhelmingly favor differentiating compensation for top performers or teachers working in hard-to-staff schools or subject areas.
“Every day teachers are feeling the stress and overwhelm of the classroom, but they’re also feeling undervalued,” says Dr. Winnie Williams-Hall, diverse learning middle school teacher at Nicholson STEM Elementary of Chicago Public Schools. “You can feel this in our schools and it impacts teaching and learning. Supporting teachers and letting them know they are valued, whether through financial incentive or other recognition, can not only help retain current teachers, but attract new teachers we desperately need.”
At this point in time, there are several key priorities that we’ve outlined that will better support teachers and, thereby, help students learn, including: funding research and innovating to identify and scale what works; and increasing and differentiating teacher compensation, which can be achieved through federal and state funding and policy initiatives.
“If we do not work urgently to improve the conditions of the profession, in another forty years, there may be no one left to educate our nation’s children,” said Evan Stone, co-founder and co-CEO of E4E. “To no longer be a “nation at risk”, we need a more sustainable, more effective, and more equitable K-12 public education system, and that starts with understanding what teachers need to help students succeed.”
About Educators for Excellence (E4E)
Founded by public school teachers, Educators for Excellence is a growing movement of more than 35,000 educators, united around a common set of values and principles for improving student learning and elevating the teaching profession. We work together to identify issues that impact our schools, create solutions to these challenges, and advocate for policies and programs that give all students access to a quality education.
For the full survey results, press release, and more, visit: e4e.org/teachersurvey.