A new survey from MissionSquare Research Institute reveals the amount of strain COVID-19 has put on the education system — 37% of the K-12 workforce says that the pandemic has them considering changing jobs.
“The teachers are not okay, that’s for sure,” Rivka Liss-Levinson, senior research manager at MissionSquare, told Yahoo Finance. She says that many U.S. teachers are at their breaking point.
Key findings from the survey show how much impact working through the COVID-19 pandemic has on teachers compared to their non-teaching counterparts in government jobs.
The K-12 workforce is more likely than other government workers to feel stressed (52% vs. 35%), burnt out (52% vs. 34%), and anxious (34% vs. 29%).
K-12 employees are significantly more likely than other government workers to say that the pandemic has negatively impacted their finances (50% vs. 35%).
59% percent of the K-12 workforce say the risks of working during the COVID-19 pandemic are not on par with their compensation. This sentiment is higher than among the overall state and local workforce (43%).
K-12 employees are significantly more likely than other government employees to say that COVID-19 has impacted the nature of their job (83% vs. 71%) and that it has been difficult to adjust to these changes (42% vs. 22%).
39% percent of K-12 employees are working more hours than before the pandemic because of extra time required for online/remote work (73%), social distancing protocols/limitations on class size (45%), and increased meetings and communications with parents/students (42%) or with other school staff (41%).
90% of K-12 employees are concerned about students falling behind due to the pandemic, with 34% extremely concerned.
77% of K-12 employees say that internet access/speed for students learning from home has been an issue during the pandemic, whereas 69% say school technology capabilities have been an issue.
Liss-Levinson describes the statistics as alarming, given that teacher shortages have prevailed for years in an industry that can ill afford resignations.
“Even if half of those teachers actually did [leave the profession], that is a really alarming number given that we already have all of these shortages already,” said Liss-Levinson. “We were dealing with [a] storage as we already were dealing with teachers being on strike before the pandemic and not feeling like they were being fairly compensated. And it’s like, you have to wonder, is this the breaking point?” she asks.
Despite the ongoing challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, Liss-Levinson tells Yahoo Finance that teachers are still incredibly proud of their work during these difficult times.
“They feel like that people are understanding more about the importance of what they do. So that was really nice to see,” she said.
The survey consisted of commentary from more than 1,200 state and local government employees fielded by Greenwald Research. It is the third in a series done on the impact of COVID on the state and local government workforce.
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.