The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on teaching and learning, especially for our most vulnerable students, and inequities that have existed in our education system long before the pandemic have only become more tragic. Coupled with a national reckoning on racial injustice, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) students and educators are facing extensive trauma in this moment, all while support systems and resources have diminished.
Voices from the Classroom 2021 is a nationally representative survey by teachers that captures the views and opinions of educators across the country on a wide variety of education issues. As decision-makers at all levels determine how to recover from this education disruption and return to the classroom, they need to hear from those who are taking on the challenge every day — educators.
This report offers insight into what is working, what can be improved, and how we can reimagine education to ensure it is equitable for all students.
The Voices from the Classroom 2021 survey questionnaire was developed by 12 Educators for Excellence member teachers from across the United States. The instrument was written and administered by Gotham Research Group, an independent research firm, and conducted online from December 1 through December 14, 2020, among a nationally representative sample of 800 full-time, public school teachers. The margin of error is ±3.5 percentage points for the full survey sample of 800 and higher among subgroups or questions not asked of the full sample.
Major Trends and Findings
Understand the Need: To address an alarming decrease in student engagement and a lack of support for students, teachers seek guidance and data.
Teach What Works: Teachers want changes in content, curricula, grading, and assessments to provide an excellent education during the pandemic and in the future.
Reach Every Student: Schools are not regularly meeting the needs of vulnerable student populations, and the trend is apparent in curricula, staffing, and professional support.
Dismantle Institutional Racism: Teachers are concerned about systemic racism, but in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the related protests, few report receiving any guidance or discussing racial justice and equity with colleagues and/or students.
Rebuild and Reimagine Education: There are some benefits to distance learning that can be carried forward, and in order to return to the classroom permanently, schools need to implement both health and safety measures and programmatic changes.
Making Teaching Sustainable: While teachers face additional concerns and demands during the pandemic, their retention risk may not be as despairing as previous reports.
Support Teachers to Lead: Local education leadership has not sought teachers’ input, provided them with helpful assistance and resources, or effectively managed the demands for distance learning and physically reopening schools.
Protect our Students and Profession: As the pandemic has impacted the economy, financial health is a concern, and teachers are open to innovative approaches that will ensure minimal layoffs and protect the most-vulnerable student populations.
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Tell Dr. Miguel Cardona It's Essential to Center Teacher Perspective in His Plans
According to Voices from the Classroom 2021, 87% of teachers agree it is important for the next U.S. Secretary of Education to involve classroom teachers in the creation and review of federal education policies. Add your name to demand that teachers’ voices are central to Secretary of Education nominee Dr. Miguel Cardona's plans and that he gives educators a seat at the table throughout the next four years!
2020 Survey Results