Survey says teachers’ mental health declining
Original article: Survey says teachers’ mental health declining
A long list of anxieties — around school budget cuts, bullying, coarse political discourse and the shaky status of immigrant students — is taking a toll on teachers, a new survey shows, with more educators now saying their mental health is suffering than just two years earlier.
More than half of the educators point out their mental health is an issue: 58% said their mental health was “not good” for seven or more of the previous 30 days. A similar survey in 2015 found just 34% of respondents felt the same.
The findings are being released Monday by the American Federation of Teachers and the Badass Teachers Association, a national grass-roots organization focused on social justice.
Randi Weingarten, president of the teachers’ federation, said that over the past few years, teachers have actually swapped one kind of stress — an intense national focus on standardized skills tests — for another.
After President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, Weingarten said, many observers believed that educator stress would ease. “You would have expected the numbers to go down, not up,” she said.
But stress over the coarseness of our political debate, she said, has become a big dilemma for schools, she said.
“This notion that being coarse and tough and enabling hate is OK is highly, highly, highly disruptive and problematic in schools and goes completely against what parents and teachers know is absolutely important for kids, which is a safe and welcoming environment,” Weingarten said in an interview.
The survey of nearly 5,000 educators, most of them responding online, found that the vast majority — 86% — did not feel respected by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has made expanding private- and charter-school choice a centerpiece of her career.