Home Press Release U of M survey finds worsening mental health crisis among educators and students; students’ desire to learn more about systemic racism

U of M survey finds worsening mental health crisis among educators and students; students’ desire to learn more about systemic racism

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. Feb. 15, 2022 – The mental health crisis among educators and students in Minnesota’s schools has reached an alarming level, according to new survey results from of the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development. 

The college has now surveyed more than 53,000 educators, students and parents over three surveys since February 2021. Concerns about mental health have grown among educators and parents in each survey, including the latest survey of 18,651 members of the Minnesota school community in November 2021. 

Results of that latest survey were released Tuesday showed 71 percent of teachers and 62 percent of education support professionals listed “taking care of my own mental health” as their top challenge in the past month. Among students, 46 percent said “getting help with mental health” was the second most challenging thing in their lives in the past month. 

“Schools are a place where childhood happens – places where children from different places and from difference races should come together and find a safe, welcoming place to learn. But that can’t happen when political decisions have created learning conditions that are so bad that more than two-thirds of the educators, and nearly half the students, are in a mental health crisis,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “It’s time to come together and demand our leaders ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share for the schools our students deserve – schools with more counselors, nurses, social workers, and psychologists; smaller class sizes; less paperwork and more time for educators to plan lessons and engage with students one-to-one. By speaking out, contacting our elected leaders, and voting to fully fund our schools, we can make Minnesota a state where every student has a school where they can thrive.” 

Also notable during the current national campaign to misrepresent how lessons about race and racism are taught in school, with some state Legislatures passing bans on staff training in racial diversity, equity and inclusion, the survey found that students, “wanted more instruction on systemic racism and sexual identity as well as more prevention and intervention for racism and racial microaggressions,” according to the summary published on the CEHD website

“Students crave an honest education about both our nation’s triumphs and the times it failed to live up to its ideals,” Specht said. “These lessons build the critical thinking skills our future leaders need to avoid repeating the mistakes of our nation’s past and to build a better future for everyone, with no exceptions. I wish the politicians trying to inflame our differences by race and ZIP code would listen to Minnesota students instead of billionaires and their think tanks. We would all be better for it.” 

About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.

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