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School’s Out: A New Poll Says Over Half of U.S. Teachers Are Looking to Leave the Profession

Teaching isn’t easy in the most precedented of times, which these are emphatically not. It’s easy to see why the nation’s teachers might be thinking about other career options and now, we’ve got some data to suggest they are doing just that.

A National Education Association poll found that a whopping 55 percent of teachers are at least thinking about quitting earlier than they’d planned. The stress of picking up the slack for their absent co-workers and trying to juggle too many balls is leading to rapid burnout among the nation’s educators.

90 percent of America’s largest teachers’ union think burnout is a serious problem, 86 percent say they’ve seen more of their fellow educators leave since the pandemic started and 80 percent say they’ve had to start doing more work to cover for unfilled positions.

It’s worse for Black and Hispanic teachers, of whom 62 and 57 percent (respectively) say they’re looking at moving on. But surprisingly, there is no significant difference for rookie teachers verses the veterans. Teachers are all feeling overworked and burnt out, no matter how long they’ve been at it.

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And many, many teachers are acting on those feelings. NPR notes that there are 567,000 fewer teachers working today than there were at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. An NEA analysis found that 43 percent of those jobs haven’t been replaced. The NEA says that their research says more pay to compensate teachers for their extra work would make a difference in the teacher attrition.

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