NEW YORK, NY — Teachers and principals from Tennessee have shared their views and experiences in state-level data released today by Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL). The report features a special Tennessee-only subset of the national data released in the company’s Teacher & Principal School Report series: Equity in Education and Focus on Literacy editions. To download the national and Tennessee-specific reports, visit www.scholastic.com/teacherprincipalreport.
Report findings highlight key differences between educators nationally and in Tennessee. Areas of study include:
Barriers to Learning. More Tennessee teachers say many of their students face barriers to learning from outside of the school environment, compared to their peers nationwide (95% vs. 87%).
Tennessee teachers are more likely to have students who are living in poverty (93% vs. 82%), coming to school hungry (89% vs. 75%), and homeless or in temporary housing (75% vs. 66%).
Teachers in Tennessee are more likely to say access to the internet and other learning resources outside of school (59% vs. 48%), and access to fiction and/or nonfiction books at home (57% vs. 46%) are not adequately available for their students.
Funding Priorities. Compared to their peers nationwide, Tennessee teachers are more likely to cite high-quality instructional materials and textbooks (64% vs. 55%) and technology devices and digital resources in school (56% vs. 47%) among their top funding priorities.
Teachers from Tennessee are more likely to have purchased clothing for students (38% vs. 26%), cleaning supplies (81% vs. 65%), and supplies like tissues, hand sanitizer, band aids, etc. (79% vs. 69%) for school, classroom, or student use over the past year.
Reading in and Out-of-School. Teachers in Tennessee are more likely than their national peers to say that a barrier they face to having more independent classroom reading time is that independent reading is not considered an important use of class time (30% vs. 19%).
Tennessee educators are less likely to promote reading among their students by talking with students about the books they read for fun (59% vs. 68%), encouraging summer reading (47% vs. 64%), reading aloud to students (55% vs. 63%), and encouraging families to visit the public library (36% vs. 49%).
Aside from these key differences, the Tennessee Teacher & Principal School Report highlights the startling realities facing students, teachers, and schools across the state. Teachers report having students in their classrooms who are:
93% living in poverty
89% experiencing family or personal crisis
89% coming to school hungry
77% in need of mental health services
75% homeless or in temporary housing
64% in need of healthcare services
61% in need of English language learning support
The report also includes quotes from teachers and educators across all grade levels, giving a powerful voice to the more than 66,000 public school teachers in the state. These quotes underscore the challenging work of teachers and principals as they strive to, as one elementary school teacher says, “ensure students have the chance to learn and grow without emotional, social, mental, or academic barriers.”
“In Tennessee and across the country, teachers and principals are on the front lines every day working hard to meet the needs of each individual student,” noted Michael Haggen, Chief Academic Officer, Scholastic Education. “Tennessee’s students face numerous barriers to learning—poverty, need for mental health and social services, personal crises, hunger, and more—and their teachers address them with immense skill and impressive resolve. The state-level data shows us educators’ belief that given the right resources, including high-quality instructional materials, community and family partners, and professional development, they can provide a quality education for every young person who walks through their doors.”
Methodology, in Brief. The findings reported in the Tennessee Teacher & Principal School Report are based on a national online survey managed by YouGov among public school Pre-K–12 teachers and principals, including 107 teachers and 40 principals in Tennessee. The survey was conducted between July 22, 2016 and August 26, 2016. The data was weighted on gender, years of teaching experience (teachers only), school grade range, district enrollment, school urbanicity, and percentage of students receiving free/reduced-price lunch. In this press release as well as the associated state report, the term “educators” is used when referencing findings among the combined sample of teachers and principals.
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