Poll: 20% of Teachers Unlikely to Return to Reopened Schools

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A new poll released by USA Today/Ipsos found that one in five, or 20 percent, of teachers say they are not likely to return to their schools should they reopen in the fall.

The “parallel” online polls of the views of 505 K-12 teachers and 403 K-12 parents were conducted May 18-21.

The polls’ credibility intervals, which are similar to a margin of error, are plus or minus five percentage points for the teachers’ survey and 5.6 points for the parents’ survey.

According to the polls, 83 percent of teachers said their job is more difficult now, while 71 percent of parents said they believe teachers are working harder.

However, a report at Education Week in April observed that teachers have had many more “flexible arrangements” during the coronavirus crisis.

“The actual amount of time teachers are expected to instruct on a daily or weekly basis is shorter,” the report noted. “But they must reserve specific times for ‘office hours,’ when they are available to help students and parents individually.”

In the USA Today/Ipsos teachers’ poll, 76 percent said online learning is causing children to fall behind academically, and 24 percent said public school teachers are paid fairly.

However, less than half, or 46 percent of parents, said online learning is causing their children to fall behind, and 40 percent of parents said teachers are paid fairly.

USA Today/Ipsos noted that, in a separate poll of parents, six in ten, or 60 percent, said they will likely pursue at-home learning in the fall even if their public schools reopen, including 30 percent who said they are “very likely” to continue at-home learning options.

A RealClear Opinion Research poll released two weeks ago found 40 percent of families are more likely to choose to homeschool their children or engage in virtual learning even after schools reopen.

Additionally, an EdChoice poll released in April found 52 percent of parents have a more favorable opinion of homeschooling since the school closures due to the coronavirus.

“As our world has changed, almost everything we do has changed, including how we view and approach education,” said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos, in a statement. “Though Americans are optimistic about a return to in-person learning, there is angst among teachers, parents and America at large about how to keep our schools safe if the virus isn’t fully contained.”

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