Voices from the (Virtual) Classroom

Research Rundown Issue: June '20
Publisher: Educators for Excellence
Date Published: May '20


Educators for Excellence surveyed a nationally representative sample of 600 full-time public school teachers to learn about their experiences with distance learning during COVID-19. The survey asked about a wide range of topics: student participation and attendance, teacher layoffs, assignment completion rates, instruction, internet and device access, and more. These findings are important for building immediate action plans for the fall, and for larger policymaking considerations. For example, as we head into a likely economic downturn, 64% of teachers in district schools think teacher layoff decisions should be based on multiple factors, including both performance and seniority, and another 17% think the decisions should be based on teacher performance. Furthermore, 46% think that districts should avoid layoffs at schools that serve the most vulnerable student groups.

Why This Matters in Minnesota

With a projected state deficit of $2.4 billion, Minnesota districts may be forced to make budget cuts in the coming year, likely resulting in layoffs. Usually, when there are layoffs due to a recession, schools that serve high populations of low-income students are disproportionately impacted, facing staff reductions, cuts to important services, and hard-to-staff positions staying open. Minnesota school leaders should be able to retain the very best educators for their students, looking at multiple measures and not just seniority. Educators that Minnesota schools most desperately need—teachers of color, educators qualified to teach College in the Schools, and other hard-to-staff positions—should be protected during layoffs, as should schools that serve large populations of traditionally underserved students, where we should be working to stabilize churn and staff turnover. The survey findings demonstrate support in the educator community for doing things differently, and policymakers should step up to help schools retain the teachers they need most.

Read the report