EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN - The results are in from the Michigan Education Association In-Person Learning Survey. This survey represented over 15,000 educational professionals. On June 4, Thursday at 1pm, President Paula Herbart and Director of Public Affairs Doug Pratt hosted a Zoom call to share the data that was collected.
This survey showed a broad agreement that all educators feel the need to institute new health standards to return to in-person learning. These include temperature testing of both staff and students, state or federal funded PPE and advanced illness tracking. The survey also reported that 64% of educators wanted smaller class sizes to ensure social distancing. However, only 32% wanted staggered schedules to be implemented. During the Q+A after the presentation, MEA President Herbart was asked about specific class sizes.
“I don’t think it (class sizes) will be determined by a number, instead of square feet, how many students you can serve in that space,” said MEA President Herbart.
Another concern from this survey was rate of teacher turnover. The ongoing shortage of teachers and other school employees due to COVID-19 is something to note as the fall approaches. About half of teachers reported that they will be returning, however, 8% of educators were unsure. This could be a wave of thousands of teachers absent state-wide this coming school year if not addressed.
Standardized testing particularly stood out on the survey with 68% of teachers wanting to suspend standardized testing. Pratt noted that this would obstruct things such as student evaluations, reading tests and classroom observations.
“All of these needs underscore why it’s important for Congress to take action and prevent these pandemic driven budget cuts caused by reduced revenues,” said Pratt.
What does this mean for school coming in just a few months? The results from this survey will be presented to the Governor’s Return to School Advisory Council to ensure the voices of the front-line teaching professionals are heard. The MEA is working to advocate solutions to meet its educational needs while maintaining state-wide safety.
“We need to be flexible enough to deal with this and we need to make sure that the appropriate pathway, the road map back to school makes sense going forward,” said Pratt.