Key Findings from the American Educator Panels
Like so many dedicated educators, policymakers, and researchers across the globe, the RAND American Educator Panels (AEP) team has been working to support teachers and school leaders who face an unprecedented set of challenges as they respond to COVID-19. RAND is committed to using the panels to understand how schools are navigating this new territory and to document disparities in students’ access to and participation in educational opportunities—disparities that will almost certainly grow as a result of the pandemic.
With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, RAND is one of the first to launch nationally representative surveys of educators about COVID-19. The surveys focus on the type of instruction educators are offering and their infrastructure for remote learning, the factors hindering or facilitating their work, their priorities for fall, and their efforts to support students’ well-being. With oversamples of schools serving predominantly students of color and students affected by poverty, RAND is documenting the pandemic’s implications for equity and contribute to guidance on how to address it.
Key Findings from the AEP Fall 2020 COVID-19 Surveys
Teachers leave the profession because of stress. And COVID-19 exacerbated stress levels by forcing teachers to work more hours and navigate unfamiliar remote instruction. Stress was cited twice as often as insufficient pay. Most former teachers took jobs with less or equal pay, and 3 in 10 without health insurance or retirement benefits.
Between working longer hours, learning new technologies, and trying to stay connected to their students, the COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented demands on teachers. What might teacher burnout and low morale mean for schools' abilities to support students effectively?
Most U.S. schools are providing either fully remote or hybrid instruction as the pandemic continues to limit students' learning. Students are less prepared for grade-level work and those from vulnerable populations are most at risk of falling behind. Some 80 percent of teachers report burnout.
Key Findings from the AEP Spring 2020 COVID-19 Surveys
Before COVID-19, less than half of U.S. public schools had a written plan for dealing with a pandemic. And only 38 states had publicly available school health emergency plans. How did schools' preparation affect their transitions to remote learning and principals' confidence in student achievement?
U.S. teachers and principals shifted quickly to support students with distance learning during the early weeks of the coronavirus crisis. But unfortunately, the pandemic is likely to make existing inequalities worse.
There will be an additional round of surveys in mid-2021 to assess how the school year has gone and to gauge the ongoing challenges educators are facing.