Recently the FEA conducted a survey statewide. There were 12,797 responses statewide.
View the PDF file:
FEA Final Survey Results
Below is a recap of the data.
- 85% of respondents are instructional personnel
- 7% ESP
- 6% “other” (mostly ESPs, but some non-classroom instructional personnel)
- 2% Higher ed (including graduate assistants)
- 92% of respondents are union members
Members recognize the importance of having a union contract during these uncertain times.
Overall, our members are stressed and overwhelmed. But, as educators almost always do they remain hopeful.
Top 5 responses: Stressed, Hopeful, Overwhelmed, Frustrated
Students, however, do not seem to be as hopeful as their educators are. The first word with a positive connotation is “hopeful” with 19.9% of educators reporting their students feel hopeful.
Top 5 Responses: Confused, Overwhelmed, Disengaged, Stressed, Frustrated (Those who responded later in the survey period were more likely to say their students were disengaged than those who responded early in the survey period).
Fortunately, the majority of members have not seen a loss of income. However, almost 20% have lost a second job.
Perhaps the silver lining here is these numbers did not change much at all during the survey period. Given unemployment trends around the state and nation, it would have been reasonable to assume that as the survey period went on more people will either lose a second job or have a spouse/partner who lost a job. But these numbers remained remarkably steady throughout the survey.
Members’ greatest concerns, not surprisingly, are economic. They are worried both about cuts to the education budget statewide as well as their own budgets. Many respondents also worry about taking care of relatives, whether their own parents or their own children or both.
Top 5 answers: Budget cuts to education, Income or job security, Mental health, Caring for a parent/elderly family member, Paying my rent mortgage
Very few members report they are being required to report to work, but as anticipated the percentage of teachers work
Members’ largest concern for their students is that they will fall behind. Student health and wellbeing is also a major concern as each of the next top four answers deal in some manner with student health/wellbeing.
Top 5 answers: I worry about my students falling behind, I worry about my students’ mental health, I worry my students are unsupervised, I worry my students don’t have enough to eat, I worry my students are not safe.
Our members report it is very important to stay connected to students during this time. As the survey period went on, members were more likely to rate the importance of connection as a “10” than those who answered early in the survey period.
For the most part, teachers report they have been able to stay connected to students, with 70% of respondents giving a score of 7 or higher when asked how well they were able to stay connected. Not surprisingly, the numbers are much lower for ESP members, only 41% of whom rated their ability to stay connected 7 or higher. For both groups, these numbers remained virtually unchanged during the duration of the survey.
Issues with technology are still heavily prevalent. However, during the course of the survey the percentage of respondents who said their students were struggling with technology declined slightly while the percentage who said their students are turning in work did increase slightly.
Top 5 answers: They or their parents have problems with technology, They are struggling to get their work done, They are doing their work, They are spending limited time doing their work, They are not engaged
As you would expect with almost 13,000 responses, the comments are all over the place, but there are some common themes.
- As the survey period went on, respondents were more likely to express concern over possible cuts to next year’s education budget. Special area teachers seemed to be especially worried about cuts to their positions.
- Concern over legislators’ potential solutions to budget deficit; education is typically first tho get cut, and our county budget was already so tight that was had to go to empasse just got a 2% raise, after no raises for a couple years. Continued cuts would force our county to begin cutting the already spartan resources available.
- I’m worried that the State of Florida will claim bankruptcy which will affect pensions and pay.
- Since the budget for next year isn’t signed I think they will go in and take money from education
- Since evaluations were cancelled I will be probationary again (experienced teacher 25+ years, Masters, first year in OCPS) and won’t be getting a raise I’m sure. I’m sure government will cut educational support and more than likely I may even lose my job.
- Budget cuts do worry me for next year
- Stress/anxiety. Concerned with State perspective on budget for education due to pandemic. Which also leads to concerns for employment during next academic year.
- As an art teacher, working with a budget of approx a dollar per student, I fear my program may lose funding partially or fully next year.
- I read an article since so many people are filing unemployment, that the state legislatures will have to cut the budget drastically for education with decreasing salaries and firing teachers.
- I am concerned about budget cuts to education, especially those that have to do with my content field; which is Foreign Languages. I am worried about our school district cutting back on teachers.
- There is also increasing anxiety about renewal of teaching certificates
- The state is not giving enough extension for those who have certification about to expire.
- I am currently in the process of certification. I have several different tasks to complete. While testing fees have been waived, the other items that we have to complete, which are causing me stress, are still due. I am worried that I do not have the mental capacity to complete it during this time and it is still due. It is overwhelming. The remaining items should also be waived or postponed.
- I am a teacher attempting to finish his licensing requirements from his provisional, but I am unable to take my exams due to COVID-19 and no testing sites being available prior to my provisional expiring.
- Early on those who commented were positive towards the increased interaction with parents/families. As the survey progressed difficulties interacting with students/parents seemed to be a more common theme.
- “I am having more parent contact and virtual conversations with parents than I ever have before in my public education career”
- “Parent involvement has increased and they are seeing both the good and bad about their child’s education experience.”
- “I have had more contact with the parents than I usually do”
- Student (and parent) accountability seems to be a huge factor
- The parents do not have the technology or WiFi. Many parents are overwhelmed with the amount of phones being made in order to try to continue the ESE services. Many parents do not know how to provide the academic structure for their ESE student.
- Getting students to complete assignments, and lack of parental support
- My students don’t have resources. I don’t enjoy sitting down all day. My parents have been rude at times due to frustration. Not all of my students are receiving packets as promised. I cannot contact some of my students. Some parents are just flat out ignoring DOJO messages when I see that they’ve read them. Some parents don’t have the mental intellect to support their children academically, but they are trying.
- Many respondents reported that students who had not been engaged before distance learning are now among the most engaged students:
- “Lowest performing are doing better with distance learning than kids that are historically good performing students.”
- “one student wouldn’t participate in class and is now the first one done and talking to me”
- “Some of my students who were quiet or soft-spoken when we were in a physical classroom have been really engaged with the virtual one.”
- “Several behavior students are now my BEST workers.”
- “Students that typically don’t do work in class are doing so remotely”
- Respondents are very concerned about equity and worry about ESE and ESL students as well as those in poverty without access to technology
- “Students’ parents can not afford internet or speak language other than English and cannot help their child with the course content”
- “access for my students. A lot have no internet or laptop.”
- “My ESL aide is overwhelmed with concerns of Spanish speaking parents. She gets very little support. We have very few digital resources for our LY student. These students have very little support for completing assignments.”
- “My students have limited access to devices to do distance learning.”
- “Language barriers make accessing Distance Learning a challenge”
- It’s not just students who don’t have access to technology. Many of our members don’t either
- “I live in an efficiency apartment. I have a laptop -nothing else. I have no space to work. No desk not even a dining room table. I have no printer, no scanner and all my resources ( books etc. Are school) even if I had what I feel like I need I have no idea where I would put it all.”
- “Unreliable technology, overwhelming work load, didn’t have space for a “home office”
- “I don’t have good Internet at home. I’m not good at tech stuff”.
- “I didn’t have internet at home so I had to have that installed in order to follow the stay at home order. Now I have another bill to pay.”
- “I live in a hotel. This means unreliable internet and somehow have to teach with my daughter trying to learn in the same room. (High school teacher in Duval)
- The workload has increased significantly
- “I am working sometimes 13 hours a day or more. My husband has felt I am unavailable to help out at home enough.”
- “Adjusting to a structured work schedule. I am up from morning to night answering e-mails and student questions.”
- ‘It has doubled my workload.”
- “work longer hours trying to keep grades up to date.”
- “I am putting in 12 hour days just to keep up with it all.”
- “The constant attempt at parental and student communication is mind blowing. The time, wow!! I am putting more hours in at home or with distance learning than regular school day”
- “Managing the job of parenting early elementary kids and planning/teaching my students. Separating from work – it has become an 18 hr/day job”
- “It takes at least twice as long to grade student work this way. I have to download the photos of the work, turn them into PDFs, write on the PDFs using a tablet, then upload the graded work.”
- “I work three times more than when I was I. The classroom. And I already worked 10 hour days plus weekends.”
- Loss of second income and/or spouse/partner losing a job has many people worried for their personal finances
- “I have two extra jobs, well almost three. I run an airbnb out of my home, I tutor and I watch dogs to make ends meet. I have lost all of these extra sources of income. I am wondering if I will be able to eat. I am in the hole by over $400.00”
- “Due to low pay as a teacher, and the fact that my significant other’s business has plummeted to nothing, we are really struggling financially.”
- “Husband’s business is down 80% and I can’t pay all our bills with my income.”
- “I lost my 2 tutoring jobs. Also, if we don’t have summer school, I will lose my additional pay for the summer (my district does not pay us over the summer).”
- “My husband has lost his second job and if his primary source of income does not come through at the end of April (which is a big possibility, because his work depends on the service industry), we cannot live for more than 2-3 months without his income. I barely have a savings. He pays for healthcare through the exchange, because we couldn’t afford healthcare for him through my county. So, that might have to be cut to keep payments going towards our mortgage. And from there, could fall into a domino effect. If the shutdown affects the fall, and they cut my educator pay, we could be headed towards financial ruin. The “what-if” factor comes into play within my mind, on a daily basis now.”
- I’ve lost my 2nd and 3rd jobs. While grateful for my primary income from teaching I need to seriously reduce my spending. I don’t want to complain but I’ve had to spend more to upgrade my WiFi at home to cover the increased load I’m putting on it by teaching virtually and I’ve just had to order a new printer/scanner and headset to use here at home.
- “Because I am not working my second job, income is very low.”
- “Without my second income and my husbands hours being cut dramatically it has been really hard to keep the bills paid and food on the table”
- My husband lost his job days before covid. My two teenage sons list thier food service jobs because of it. And I am a hairdresser as a second job which now I can’t do- due to covid. We all have car payments and/ or car insurance, cell phones, loans, and everyday rent, utilities etc. To cover. My paycheck once I pay insurance and all out of it-‘i bring home less than 2 grand a month for a family of 6. I’m very scared and worried that I cannot do this in my own and we will lose our vehicles or get evicted, get too far behind on bills etc.