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How Outdated Technology’s Impacting K-12 Teachers, Administrators: New Study

Today’s post comes to us from the executive director of The Workforce Institute, Dr. Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR.

Turns out COVID-19 isn’t the only reason public school teachers are increasingly absent from class. It’s also outdated technology, according to a new report out this week, just in time for back-to-school season around the United States.

The study finds nearly two in three (63%) K-12 districts across the country lost teachers to other school systems in the past year because employees sought a more advanced technology experience. At the same time, K-12 staffing challenges intensified during the 2020-21 school year as the pandemic pushed teachers to other districts, out of careers in education, or out of the workforce altogether.

Some key findings from the study include:

  • Nearly four in five districts (77%) tracked an unexpected increase in teacher retirements.
  • Two-thirds (65%) of districts struggled to retain educators, many of whom decamped for other districts offering a more sophisticated technology experience.
  • K-12 central office administrators agree — almost unanimously (94%) — that teachers’ technology expectations at work have peaked as a result of the pandemic.
  • Moreover, 71% of administrators said they struggled to hire new teachers in the past year.

Clearly, it’s time for an upgrade. But not just the one we’re usually debating.

While we often focus on ensuring our students have access to the most advanced technology, tools, and resources inside (and outside) the classroom, it’s just as crucial to provide top HR and workforce management technology to our teachers and central office administrators to help improve the employee experience and drive back-office efficiencies.

Though, as this research reveals, public schools are quickly falling behind and in danger of failing. And, these antiquated practices, manual processes, and other technology-related shortcomings are costing schools more money.

According to the survey: Nearly two in three districts (64%) relied heavily on overtime to cover unplanned absences in the 2020-21 school year, half are potentially overcompensating substitute teachers, and just 44% are using labor data to maximize funding across their districts.

There’s a seemingly never-ending list of stressors for our public school teachers and administrators. Outdated technology shouldn’t be another one on the list.

Today’s lesson: For schools looking to attract and keep their gold-star educators, consider the critical role technology plays in that success.

Check out the complete executive report for a full analysis: Technology Cultivates K-12 Success: Creating a Better Work Experience for School Staff in 2021-22

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