EdWeek Survey of Teachers and District Leaders

Research Rundown Issue: May '20
Publisher: EdWeek Research Center
Date Published: May '20


EdWeek’s nationally representative survey of teachers and district leaders provides good insight into how distance learning is going around the country. The survey found that teachers are spending less time teaching new, standards-aligned material, but that the degree of change varies quite a bit, with the potential to drive disparities in learning loss. In districts serving predominantly low-income families, 76% of teachers report teaching less new material, compared to 55% of teachers in districts serving few low-income families.

The survey also found that teachers are spending less time on student instruction, with students spending about 3 hours per day learning.  Almost 60% of teachers indicated that student engagement has declined. Furthermore, access to devices and the internet remains a problem, particularly for schools that serve higher populations of low-income students. Only 44% of teachers in districts that serve predominantly low-income families reported that their schools offer 1-to-1 computing.

Why This Matters in Minnesota

Many of the trends from the survey hold true in Minnesota. To get a better understanding of how schools around the state are approaching distance learning, EdAllies analyzed the plans of 61 Minnesota districts and 30 charter schools, honing in on those with the largest low-income student populations.

We found that only about a third of distance learning plans specified that students would be learning new content, and that approaches to internet and device access vary widely. Given predictions that distance learning could be part of the student experience into the coming year, it is critical that state policymakers and school leaders work to address gaps and build on best practices. This should include state investments in internet and device access, as well as a strong, equitable approach to spending federal CARES Act funds.

Check out the full survey