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No Matter What Kind of Superhero: American Teachers On Returning to School

With national leadership urging schools to reopen this fall despite rising cases of COVID-19, classroom teachers are facing bewildering choices. Already undervalued, teachers are weighing the dangers of in-person instruction against the effectiveness of online learning, with little certainty about either. Students are isolated, parents are exhausted, school districts are scrambling to make responsible decisions, yet teachers themselves are being asked to carry most of this burden, risking their lives and their families’ lives to do their jobs. Even a superhero would be daunted.

Teachers make unconscionable day to day sacrifices from buying their own classroom supplies to training for school shootings. As we approach the start of the 2020 academic year, we asked U.S. K-12 teachers to tell us how they’re feeling and how they’re planning for the year ahead. This emergency of public education is at the heart of the undulating, multi-layered crisis in America right now, and teachers’ voices must be heard.