- Teachers face a wild array of differing grade level performance among students in a single classroom, and often must work long hours and spend money from their own pocket for classroom resources and supplies, according to a new survey conducted by Front Row Education, Inc.
- Front Row questioned 3,500 K-8 teachers for results, finding that more than 93% of educators say students in their class cannot perform to grade level, and 80% of teachers have students at least one grade level behind while more than a third report having students three grade levels behind.
- More than 50% of teachers reportedly spent between three and five hours planning each week, and the amount of time planning surprisingly remained the same across both grades and years of experience an educator had in the teaching profession.
The divergences K-8 teachers are encountering in their classrooms could help support increasing calls from advocates for more robust early childhood education options. In addition to a strong return on investment for costly upfront expenses, early childhood education could help to get students to a more equitable plane by the time they enter kindergarten. It is also problematic to penalize educators for the challenges of wildly differing grade levels in one classroom, as social promotion can often lead to inequitable classroom settings. Municipalities have attempted to stem the issue, but it can continue to be a challenge for educators on a class-by-class basis.
The high costs teachers bear when it comes to providing resources for their classrooms parallel the challenges facing underfunded schools. So low performance on the part of a school and low test scores for students can often give way to an unyielding cycle, as affluent parents move away and deprive schools of potential revenue, leading to further cuts, further divestments and more severe drops in performance. In this case, it is unsurprising that teachers are increasingly called upon to find a way to stanch the bleeding.