Dec 16, 2021 - News

D.C. teachers are burning out, survey shows

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new educator survey by the Washington Teachers’ Union and EmpowerEd found that teacher morale in the District is plummeting.

  • The survey included DCPS and D.C. public charter school teachers across all wards.

Why it matters: The pandemic’s impact on schools has been brutal, and teacher turnover is one of the costly consequences as educators are tasked with more responsibilities both in and out of the classroom.

By the numbers: The survey found that 47% of respondents were either seriously or somewhat seriously considering leaving their roles.

  • Of those, 14% were considering leaving before the end of the school year.

Zoom in: When asked to rank which actions would keep them from leaving, flexible scheduling options and higher pay were the top two.

The majority of respondents said if they were to leave teaching, DCPS/D.C. citywide policies would be their top reason for leaving.

Between the lines: Low teacher morale leads to high teacher turnover, which leads to more work for teachers, and subsequently lowers morale even more. This cycle, which is worsened by substitute teacher shortages around the DMV, has continued throughout the pandemic.

Meanwhile, D.C. students are falling behind academically. 

  • A report by the nonprofit group EmpowerK12 found that students across grades kindergarten through 8th ended the last academic year with lower math and reading achievement than before the pandemic.

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