Must Read BlogPapers April 14, 2020

Making the Grade: Teacher Perspective on the State of K-12 Remote Learning

Last week we shared initial perspectives on where we believe the K-12 sector may be headed in the near term. This week we offer insights drawn from teachers who are working to support their students in remote learning environments.

Building on our survey to parents last month, this past week we surveyed PreK-12 educators nationwide to better understand where they are focusing their instructional efforts on behalf of their students and the key challenges they are facing in doing so. We have highlighted selected findings below; more detailed data and analysis can be accessed in our presentation, available for download.

Thank you for your continued support and feedback. We will continue to be in touch, and please do not hesitate to contact us; we look forward to hearing from you and what you’re experiencing during this time.

Adam Newman, Founder and Managing Partner

Chris Curran, Founder and Managing Partner

Tanya Rosbash, Director

How are teachers experiencing the K-12 current state?

Most Teachers Are “Doing” Remote Learning: While some schools and districts delayed their start of remote learning, increasingly most schools and teachers are active now. According to the teachers surveyed, ~95% report that their school is currently mandating or encouraging remote learning. Charter schools and private schools are active at higher rates, as are more affluent public-school districts.

Teachers Lean on their Peers for Assistance: With schools closing so suddenly, ~30% of teachers felt unprepared to teach remotely and only 9% report feeling well prepared. Teachers are relying most heavily on their peers and colleagues for support as they transition. While ~55% of teachers have received professional development support on strategies for teaching in a remote learning environment, a majority highlight needing more; download the research to see more.

The Digital Divide Persists: Among the myriad challenges to remote teaching, access to technology is cited as a key pain point to continuing education and communication in a remote environment. Districts are competing for digital devices in an effort to distribute them to their students. For schools with more than 80% of students eligible for free or reduced lunch, 52% of teachers reported that student access to technology or Wi-Fi was their greatest challenge, compared to only 9% of teachers in communities with less than 20% of students eligible. Moreover, many teachers report that their own lack of technology at home is a significant challenge.

Teachers in Touch, but Maintaining Student Relationships Difficult: More than 50% of teachers communicate with their students four or more times per week. Notwithstanding this frequent communication, teachers feel maintaining relationships is more difficult in a remote environment,as is getting students to stay on top of their work.

Already Looking Toward the 2020-21 Academic Year: Many teachers lack confidence in the effectiveness of their current remote learning approach; only ~30% of teachers believe their efforts have been effective thus far. With many assessments canceled, school days lost, and disparities in remote learning approaches, administrators are beginning to consider how the 2020-2021 school year may need to be adjusted to account for the challenges this spring.

Key reads from the past week

States have differing perspectives on whether to reopen schools this academic year

Gallup poll shows 83% of students are learning online, compared to only 65% when schools first began closing

Launch of, a curated hub of resources for educating special education students remotely

Secretary DeVos announces $65M in grants for 100+ public charter schools in underserved communities

Data shows teenagers are grappling with the social impact and anxieties caused by school closures