AASPA Follow-up Survey on COVID-19 Responses from PK-12
A Brief Overview of the Landscape of Teacher Education
In recent years, the field of education has been fighting an uphill battle, faced with negative media attention and poor perceptions of teaching as a career choice. Last year alone saw a record number of teacher walkouts, protests and strikes. The underlying message was clear, we do not pay teachers enough and they do not receive the respect that they deserve. The results of these negative perceptions have led to a 23% decline in the number of people completing teacher-preparation programs as well as a staggering low retention rate of new teachers who leave the occupation within the first five years.
The arrival of COVID-19 and Education
With the arrival of COVID-19, education experienced an unprecedented situation that resulted in virtually all K-12 students in the United States missing face-to-face instruction and all teachers moving to a remote environment. Many in the field of education were forced to transition to a new way of educating our youth, while also trying to keep themselves and their families healthy and safe. When parents were newly deputized with assisting in the education of their children, a shift occurred. With the arrival of fall and no end to the pandemic, concerns continue on the ability to educate our children equitably in a new environment. At the forefront of all of these challenges is the great work of our educators and the ones charged with recruiting, hiring, retaining and equipping these dedicated individuals. A key goal of the American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA) has always been and will remain, to help elevate the profession of human capital resources in education and assist school districts in recruitment and retention of high-quality talent for the education of students in PK-12.
AASPA recently sent a follow-up survey to members and non-members asking questions about the future of school employees this fall. While not surprising, it was again clear that the wellbeing of district staff would be a main priority. Some key findings and results from this survey are below. The truth is, the topic of school employee outcomes is a moving target. As states move forward with changes and health departments offer benchmarks, we do not have all of the answers. An answer today may be different than an answer yesterday. Our goal is that no matter what the future looks like for your school district employees, we will be able to look back at this time and remind people that educators are respected, and education is a wonderful place to be. This time in history has the opportunity to shift the negative perception and move the needle towards education as a respected, profession and career choice.
When asked, “Are you planning on Teacher (non-classified) layoffs/furloughs for the fall?”, 88.75% were not planning any teacher layoffs/furloughs, while 5.5% were planning on eliminating vacant positions. In the collection of specific responses, many indicated they would not immediately fill positions left by retirements or employees who elected to not come back to work. 12.28% were planning to increase teaching staff mostly in the areas of substitutes.
When asked “Are you planning on Classified layoffs/furloughs for the fall?”, 74.25% were not planning any, with the recognition that going fully virtual for an extended period of time would certainly change this. Many districts are working hard to keep classified staff employed during this time of transition by getting creative in job duties. Increases of staff will be in areas of heath (nursing staff), cleaning (facilities staff) and technology (technical aids).
I encourage you to view the results of the survey. Summary data is available to anyone. Detained response data is available to AASPA members only. To access the Members Only detailed survey, you will need to log in to the AASPA website and look under Member Benefits.