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More than 70% of Connecticut’s educators feel frustrated, burned out

Whittier Elementary School teacher Kayla Cowen interacts with students, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022 in Mesa, Ariz. Like many school districts across the country, Mesa has a teacher shortage due in part due to low morale and declining interest in the profession. Five years ago, Mesa allowed Whittier to participate in a program making it easier for the district to fill staffing gaps, grant educators greater agency over their work and make teaching a more attractive career. The model, known as team teaching, allows teachers to combine classes and grades rotating between big group instruction, one-on-one interventions, small study groups or whatever the team agrees is a priority each day. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York
There is a teacher shortage due in part due to low morale and declining interest in the profession.

A new survey by the Connecticut Education Association has revealed concerning statistics about the state’s teachers.

The association, which represents around 40,000 of the state's educators, surveyed more than 7,000 of their teachers.

According to the survey, 74% of the state’s teachers are considering early retirement or a career change. Seventy-seven percent said they are more burned out than they were in previous years.

Association President Kate Diaz said ignoring that data will have grave consequences.

“Data is a story,” Diaz said. “And if you look at our data, it's telling the story of a group of educators that are stressed out, overwhelmed by the responsibility of their jobs and not feeling tremendously supported in the execution of that work.”

The survey also explored specific problems teachers face.

Ninety-nine percent said “teachers facing stress and burnout” was a serious concern, and 97% said “politicians and non-educators making classroom decisions” was a serious concern.

State Representative Kathleen McCarty, the ranking member of the education committee, said the results from the survey are concerning, and the legislature must act.

“It's a difficult topic. And it's going to require everyone working together to find those solutions," McCarty said. "But to me, there's nothing more important than having a quality cadre of our teachers in the state, and to have this crisis here still this year, it's something that we all have to be focused on.”

Ninety-nine percent of survey respondents said they support raising educator salaries to attract and retain teachers to the state, and 96% said more effective school disciplinary policies would help.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.