(WTNH) – Connecticut residents think teachers aren’t getting paid enough, and mental health and burnout are major issues impacting schools, according to a new survey released by the state’s largest teachers’ union.

The CEA paid a Washington D.C.-based company to conduct a voter survey of 800 people. Key findings from the survey showed the following results:

  • 65% of voters think teachers aren’t paid enough.
  • 75% want the state to provide more funding to support teachers’ salaries.
  • 71% believe teachers who worked during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic should receive “hero pay”

Results show that 90% of residents believe teachers should be paid more money based on their education and training requirements, while 85% say teacher shortages and student mental health are the top issues facing public schools. That list includes stress and burnout, students falling behind academically, along with behavior and discipline issues.

“Teaching is harder than ever,” CEA President Kate Dias said. “The COVID-19 pandemic shined a bright light on the issues teachers have dealt with for decades—including a lack of support and resources to meet students’ needs, low salaries, and high levels of stress and burnout–all exacerbating the existing problems and leading to record numbers of teachers exiting the profession or retiring earlier than planned.”

Voters favored:

  • Providing support to address disruptive student behavior
  • Ensuring teachers have uninterrupted planning time
  • Allowing teachers to incorporate more play-based learning strategies in kindergarten through third grade
  • Increasing resources for English language learners and for bilingual education
  • Providing incentives to school districts to reduce class sizes

Districts are receiving more state funding because of a 2017 law that slowly increases education money to under-served communities like New Britain and Waterbury.

There is bipartisan support to speed that up as federal COVID relief money dries up. There is also concern over what House Speaker Matt Ritter (D) calls a broken special education funding system.

“Morally bankrupt, the way we fund special education in the state of Connecticut,” Ritter said.
“It is every town’s lot in life whatever kids they get. The state should pick that up.”

The union recommends raising salaries, providing support and shrinking class sizes.

To read the full survey, click here.