Lack of qualified teachers tops list of parents' concerns, survey reveals

Two out of five schoolchildren have experienced learning loss over the past few years – and parents are worried that teacher shortages might be the cause, according to new research. A recent survey asked 1,500 parents to comment on the current state of their local school district, finding that 71% believe their child’s education has been impacted by nationwide staffing shortages. Respondents cited a lack of qualified teachers as their top concern (40%), almost twice as much as shortages in support staff members like nurses, janitorial crew, and administrators (25%). Three in four (77%) are also concerned about ongoing staffing shortages across the nation, which half (48%) have already experienced at their own child’s school. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of, the survey also found that three in four parents feel their child has been facing setbacks at school as a result. In addition to learning loss (42%), those setbacks include having trouble concentrating (30%), coming home frustrated (25%) and falling behind in class (24%). One in four parents even reported that their child is failing a grade (24%), and one in five (19%) feel their child is exhibiting symptoms of burnout. Seventy-five percent of those who’ve witnessed learning loss said their child is struggling in at least two subjects, while almost 40% have noticed problems in five or more subjects. Over-reliance on substitute teachers stood out as the most obvious impact of shortages among those polled (31%) – not surprisingly, given that 44% have noticed their child being taught more frequently by substitutes than by their primary teacher. One in three (30%) are also concerned about unqualified teachers, and one in five (22%) have already experienced it in their child’s classroom. "Staffing shortages in the education sector can significantly impact students and their learning experience,” said Dana Bryson, senior vice president of Social Impact at “Although states are introducing alternatives to credentialing in response to the educator shortage, teachers typically undergo rigorous preparation and evaluation, including obtaining a teaching degree, passing certification exams, and completing student teaching and other training programs." To overcome these learning gaps, a third of respondents have considered getting additional academic help for their child this school year (34%), and a fifth have already done so (20%). Broken down by racial and ethnic lines, Black parents were particularly concerned about this – 44% said they’ve thought about getting help for their kids, compared to just 35% of Hispanic/Latino parents and 32% of white parents. And four in ten (39%) have used online learning platforms, almost twice as many as the number who’ve sought out tutors (25%) or writing services (15%). “As a parent, finding the right educational services for your child is crucial to their academic success,” added Bryson. “When seeking additional support, it's important to look for credentials and factors that indicate quality and effectiveness. For example, look for materials written by accredited educators, assess the program's alignment with your child's educational goals, and consider if there are opportunities for skill assessment. Additionally, it's important to choose programs that are engaging and personalized to meet your child's individual needs and learning style." MOST PREVALENT SETBACKS OF STAFFING SHORTAGES 1. Having trouble concentrating - 30% 2. Coming home confused or frustrated - 25% 3. Falling behind in class - 24% 4. Feeling less confident - 23% 5. Feeling burnt out - 19% 6. Missing out on extracurricular activities - 17% 7. Failing a grade - 16% 8. Being taught the wrong material for their grade level - 12% 9. None of the above - 29% Survey methodology: This random double-opt-in survey of 1,505 parents of school-age children (ages 5 to 18) was commissioned by between Dec. 21, 2022 and Jan. 3, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).