Washington, DC—Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the D.C. State Board of Education (State Board) has worked to better and more fully understand how the numerous changes over the last year will and have affected District families, students, and communities. At the end of January 2021, the State Board surveyed 1,060 public-school teachers from 185 different schools representing every DC Public School (DCPS) and the majority of public charter schools. The survey’s aim was to learn about public-school teacher’s thoughts on returning to in-person teaching, teacher and student experience during COVID-19, teacher retention, and well-rounded education.
The All-Teacher Survey serves to measure a specific moment in time when District teachers were beginning to return to in-person learning for Term 3, receiving their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and reflecting on nearly a full year of virtual learning practices. The State Board has compiled the results of the survey which are in the final report attached here.
Key findings include:
- Uncomfortable with returning to in-person learning: A high number of teachers (75.2 percent) reported that they are either slightly or very uncomfortable returning to in-person teaching. This trend is similar across teacher demographics, teacher years of experience, and ward.
- Increased likelihood of teacher departure: Almost half of teachers (43.4 percent) have considered leaving the teaching profession because of the challenges of teaching during COVID-19. Teachers in the District were also noted to have a higher “intention to quit” value (4.45 out of 9) when compared to comparison values (3.28 out of 9) from a previous research study.
- Worsening social and emotional well-being: More than half of teachers (54.8 percent) believe that the social and emotional well-being of their students is worse than last year and only 39.8 percent of teachers felt they had the tools to measure their students social and emotional well-being.
- Inequitable rates of student engagement: Students in Wards 7 and 8 continue to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, as teachers noted lower student engagement rates in these wards.
- Ongoing concerns and barriers with technology and internet access: Three-quarters (76.4 percent) indicated that their students have internet access that is too slow for virtual learning, 61.6 percent shared that students devices were too slow, and 54.4 percent stated that students were not able to get help when they have technical issues.
- Less content coverage: Only one-third (32.4 percent) of teachers have been able to cover as much content during virtual learning as they did previously when teaching in-person.
The All-Teacher Survey and its findings will be used by the State Board—specifically its Educator Practice Committee and Taskforce on School Reopening Amid COVID-19—in identifying strategies and policies to ensure that teachers are supported and retained, as well as stakeholder-engaged solutions are implemented to tackle the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Contact: Milayo Olufemi