August 31, 2022

New York City Educators Reveal New Survey, Pointing to Education Crisis As School Year Begins

New York City Educators Reveal New Survey, Pointing to Education Crisis As School Year Begins

August 31 (New York) – Educators gathered on the steps of City Hall for a rally this afternoon to reveal the results of a new survey, called Voices from The Classroom, A Survey of New York City Educators. The survey was conducted by Educators for Excellence, and teachers emphasized that the results point to an education crisis entering the new school year. Educators demanded immediate action from DOE Chancellor David Banks and UFT President Michael Mulgrew, in order to restore classrooms in a post-pandemic world by addressing learning loss, emotional well-being, culturally relevant education and union voting mechanisms.

In line with the nationwide call to address lingering pandemic impacts, 82 percent of New York City teachers say that their students are somewhat or a great deal behind academically, compared to where they were before the pandemic. Department of Education Social Worker Aaron Worley said that providing better resources to students needs to be a top priority. 

“The children of our city deserve every resource that is available to them as they rebound from this unprecedented educational drop,” Worley said. “Our children are the future leaders of this country, and they need to be provided with proper services, support and nurturing so we can all watch them blossom.” 

In addition to post-pandemic learning loss, educators also highlighted the increased social and emotional needs that students have going forward. 78 percent said the mental health of their students is worse than before the pandemic.

“I implore the New York City Department of Education to allocate funds across schools for social-emotional learning, ” said Liz Haela, a middle school special education teacher. “Students everywhere deserve for their stories to be heard. Students will invest more into their school communities once they feel their community has invested in them.”

There is also widespread agreement among teachers that culturally relevant education needs to become a larger priority. 

92 percent say students should be taught about the inequality and racism that classmates experience. Dilis Tolentino, a middle school ELA and ENL teacher, said that Banks can prioritize culturally relevant education by providing an update on the universal mosaic curriculum. 

“We were told our children would be provided some of the best instruction to address this with the use of the Mosaic curriculum, yet no update or resources have been rendered to our schools,” Tolentino said. “How can we teach our future generations when the quality of our resources does not encapture, include or represent the current population of students being served?”

Tolentino also highlighted how union leadership can also take more of an active role in addressing issues, by making unions more democratic and inclusive to all teachers. 

“How can we truly be represented in the 21st century, when so many of our current mechanisms are outdated? Voting expansion must be renewed in order to provide participation electronically, in addition to being held within our work locations.”

After Banks’ appointment to the top leadership position at the start of the new year, and Mulgrew’s reelection to lead the UFT, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Educators for Excellence Evan Stone pointed to the urgency of listening to how teachers are feeling entering the school year. 

“In the face of the academic and mental health crisis caused by the pandemic, these leaders now face the additional challenges of declining enrollment — the district has lost nearly 10 percent of its students since before the pandemic — and a looming fiscal cliff as pandemic relief funding expires,” Stone said. “We ask New York City’s leaders to listen to the practitioners in the classroom as they consider their next steps, and respond accordingly.”

Designed by teachers for teachers, Voices from the Classroom, A Survey of New York City Educators was conducted with a representative sample of 110 full-time New York City teachers. The sample reflects key demographic variables of gender, race/ethnicity, age, and years of teaching experience. The poll was conducted at the beginning of 2022. The full survey can be found here. 


Founded by public school teachers, Educators for Excellence is a growing movement of more than 33,000 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 more information, please visit


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New York City Educators Reveal New Survey, Pointing to Education Crisis As School Year Begins