Parents panic over teacher shortage
A national Harris survey of American parents commissioned by Lexia Learning, found that a large majority (76%) of parents are most concerned about the national teacher shortage, more than any other topic.
These concerns have been shared by parents regarding their expectations and outlook for the 2022-2023 school year and come at a time when many parents believe their children need more support and one-on-one time with teachers, especially especially given the learning loss associated with the pandemic. Almost half of parents (45%) think more one-on-one time with teachers would help their child reach or above grade level in the next school year.
“Teachers are the single most important factor in student success,” said Lexia Learning President Nick Gaehde. “These survey results are another indicator that we need comprehensive solutions to attract and retain educators and build better support systems, especially for those educators most in need.”
Although most parents believe their children will start the school year at grade level or above (78%), more than half (51%) believe their children are still experiencing learning loss related to the pandemic .
While many students continue to seek additional academic support and other extra help, survey results revealed that teacher burnout was a concern for 25% of parents. The concern is justified, as a January 2022 National Education Association (NEA) survey found that 55% of teachers said they would leave the profession sooner than expected. In many schools, teachers are doing double duty trying to catch up with their students academically while meeting their social and emotional health needs. In fact, a significant number of parents, 29%, continue to worry about the lack of adequate support for students’ social and emotional health.
With so much on most teachers’ plates, the survey also explored parents’ thoughts on teacher retention. More than two-thirds of parents (64%) cited higher pay as the key to retaining teachers, followed by smaller class sizes (46%). Only 20% of parents believe that their child’s school compensated teachers fairly.
These findings are reinforced by ongoing research from the Economic Policy Institute that found teachers earned 19.2% less than similar college-educated workers in other occupations in 2019, a gap that widens. has been dug for over 20 years with only slight improvements.
“It will take the best minds in our communities to solve this education crisis. Collaboration between business and legislators, teachers, administrators, parents and communities, universities and nonprofit organizations is essential,” said Gaehde. “Teachers have a huge responsibility. They deserve the best support we can give them.
When it comes to parents’ general emotions about back to school, 48% of parents said they were optimistic about the school year. More than half of those who have a child in school in the new year (57%) said the 2022-2023 school year will be better for their child than the previous school year. Dads also reported more positive emotions about the upcoming school year than moms, such as optimism (55% vs. 42%) and relief (21% vs. 12%). Moms were more likely to express negative emotions than dads, such as worry (34% vs. 22%), nervousness (32% vs. 18%), worry (28% vs. 16%), and fear (20% versus 9%).
“As we move beyond the pandemic, we are starting to see real gains in how education has changed,” Gaehde said. “More technology in the classroom allows for greater personalization and real-time data, greater focus on creating equitable learning environments, and more individual instruction. These changes will have positive impacts for our students.
Other survey results include:
- Only a third of parents think their child’s school has hired and retained great teachers since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020
- 79% of parents are satisfied with their child’s school’s ability to catch up with students from pandemic-related learning loss
- 53% of parents worry about their child’s social/emotional health if they were to switch to remote learning at some point in the upcoming school year
- 82% of parents think teachers at their child’s school are properly trained to use technology (e.g. educational programs, apps) in the classroom
- Only 1 in 3 parents (33%) believe their child’s school has been successful in investing in technology resources to support students outside of the classroom since March 2020
This survey was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Lexia Learning from June 22 to June 30, 2022, among 1,013 American parents with a child aged 3 to 17, of whom 911 have a child who will attend school for the coming year. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured using a Bayesian credibility interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to +4.7 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For full survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact [email protected]