On Oct. 30, the AFT and the Badass Teachers Association released the results of the 2017 Educator Quality of Work Life Survey. Four thousand educators responded to the public version of the survey online, and another 830 educators responded in a random sampling of AFT members. The survey also oversampled educators from the Solvay (N.Y.) Teachers Association and the North Syracuse (N.Y.) Education Association, which have strong labor-management collaborative environments. The report has already gotten press coverage from USA TodayEducation Week, CBS This Morning and others.

The 2017 survey served as a follow-up to a similar poll the AFT and the Badass Teachers Association conducted in 2015 in which 30,000 educators reported often feeling emotionally and physically exhausted at the end of the day. In the 2017 survey, educators remain highly stressed, with the biggest difference between 2015 and 2017 being the jump in the number of days per month educators said their mental health was not good. In 2015, 34 percent said their mental health was not good for seven or more days in the last month. In 2017, that number climbed to 58 percent among the 4,000 public survey respondents. As a union, we fight for a better life for those we serve and those we represent, and that starts with caring—so educators’ stress is a big concern for us.

Highlights of the 2017 survey:

  • Nearly two-thirds, or 61 percent, of educators find work “always” or “often” stressful, twice the rate of other employees in the workforce.
  • 27 percent of educators said they have been threatened, bullied or harassed, compared with 7 percent of employed adults in the general population. Who was the bully? 35 percent identified a principal, administrator or supervisor; 50 percent said it was a student.
  • Educators felt most respected by their co-workers, students and students’ parents—the people with whom they interact daily—and felt most disrespected by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (86 percent), the media (61 percent), and state and federal elected officials (59 percent).
  • In Solvay and North Syracuse, union-management partnerships focus on developing good supports for teachers, including mentoring programs for new teachers and peer evaluation systems.
  • Educators in Solvay and North Syracuse reported decreased likelihood of very stressful work and decreased likelihood of leaving the profession within the next year. They were significantly less likely to report being bullied, harassed or threatened by a supervisor.

You can read the full survey report here.

We ask that you share the survey report with your members. Please let us know if there any additional ways this information can be made useful to your local. You can tweet about the report using the hashtag #EduStressSurvey.

Our deepest thanks to those who participated in this year’s survey. We will continue to fight for our members and the communities they serve.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten