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Survey: Many DC teachers have contemplated leaving profession during the pandemic

The D.C. State Board of Education found 43% of 1,000 teachers surveyed have considered leaving education as a result of instructing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

WASHINGTON — Findings from a new D.C. State Board of Education survey suggest many District teachers have thought about leaving the profession over the last year.

The DCSBOE plans to release its entire “All-Teacher Survey Report” on Wednesday. The board’s survey gathered opinions from more than 1,000 public and public charter school educators in the District in January and February.

According to the board, 43% of the survey’s respondents said they considered leaving education as a result of teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zachary Parker, president and Ward 5 representative of the D.C. State Board of Education, said the coronavirus exacerbated some long-standing problems impacting District teachers.

“We know our teachers went over and beyond to teach virtually and to meet the needs of our students, and many of them express through our survey that they did not feel as though they were respected, supported or sought out for their opinion on matters of returning back to in-person,” he said.

Teachers from 185 different D.C. schools responded to the survey. Parker said most of those educators teach in the D.C. Public Schools system.

The board says its survey also revealed that 75% of the teachers inquired said they were either slightly or very uncomfortable returning to in-person teaching during the pandemic. While more than half of teachers answered that they believe the social and emotional well-being of their students is worse now than it has been in previous years.

The survey also touched on “IMPACT”, the evaluation and feedback system DCPS uses for its school-based employees.

Parker said most of the survey’s respondents said they questioned the fairness of that system during the 2020-2021 school year.

In the past, some teachers have pointed to the rigors of IMPACT as their reason for leaving D.C. schools.

Parker said D.C. has one of the highest rates of teacher turnover in the country. He said around a quarter of D.C.’s teachers leave the classroom each year.

“With high teacher turnover rates, what that proves is that the systems and structures are not in place to, one, support instruction,” he said. “But, also, there is a level of inconsistency that impacts students’ learning, parents’ experiences, or even just the system's instructors themselves in schools.”

The survey also asked teachers questions about issues related to retention and what support they feel they need to adequately fulfill in-person and virtual learning demands during the remainder of the pandemic.

The D.C. State Board of Education will release its full report during its public meeting on Thursday. The meeting will be held virtually at 5:30 p.m.

A spokesperson for DCPS said the school system will not comment on the survey until it is released in its entirety.

WUSA9 has reached out to the D.C. Public Charter School Board for comment on the findings revealed in the survey so far, but has yet to receive a response.

The D.C. State Board of Education is an elected, independent agency that advises District government on education policy.

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