It feels like the world’s worst math problem: what happens when you add an unqualified education secretary, a volatile political climate, and an already stressful profession?
The answer: You get educators all over the country reporting serious declines in their own mental health.
A survey of 5,000 teachers released by the American Federation of Teachers found that 86% of those surveyed do not feel that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appreciates them. DeVos’s main focus has been to expand private and charter school options at the expense of the public school system, and teachers are feeling the crunch.
“People get what she’s doing,” said AFT president Randi Weingarten. “She’s doing the same thing nationally as she tried to do in Michigan … which is to completely disrupt public schooling, find ways to undermine it, defund it, destabilize it, at the same time actively promoting private alternatives, even though the private alternatives don’t have a good track record.”
Essentially, DeVos’s strategy to improve American education is to use techniques proven to fail. Is it any wonder that 58% of teachers are reporting their work “often” or “always” stressful? Are we surprised that teachers describe their mental health as “not good” for more than 7 of the previous 30 days?
Sleep deprivation complicates the issue of poor mental health among teachers. Only one in five report getting a full eight hours of sleep a night.
The 58% reporting their mental health “not good” is a whopping 24% increase over a similar study conducted in 2015.