EAB, a research firm in education, used the AASA national conference to release its 2023 Voice of the Superintendent report, which highlights findings from a survey of 198 school district superintendents across 37 states.
The survey focused on the state of mental wellness among students.
Eighty-one percent of superintendents stated student behavioral concerns are worse now than before the pandemic, with 35 percent saying the situation has gotten “significantly worse.” Ninety-two percent indicated that student mental health crises are worse than they were in 2019, with 57 percent saying the situation has gotten “significantly worse.”
Despite widespread agreement on the severity of behavioral and mental health challenges, 79 percent of superintendents say they lack sufficient staffing to fully address the student mental health crisis, and 74 percent point to staffing shortfalls as the biggest impediment to progress on managing student behavioral issues.
Superintendents cite insufficient budget as the second biggest challenge preventing them from adequately addressing student mental health crises. Almost half (46 percent) of superintendents believe they lack funding sufficient to achieve the most important objectives for their school districts. An equal number (46 percent) say they are likely to leave their job within two to three years.
“EAB’s survey of superintendents showed that while most feel more confident and energized than they did a year ago, persistent funding concerns and staffing headaches have led many district leaders to question whether making progress on their priorities is possible in today’s environment,” said Court. “The top priority for those who choose to stay and persevere must be to create a safe, supportive environment where teachers and students are able to do their best work.”
EAB’s “2023 Voice of the Superintendent” survey was distributed online from Nov. 2, 2022, to Dec. 1, 2022. This survey, which was designed to provide current superintendents with data about the experiences, needs, and perspectives of their peers, was completed by 198 superintendents from 37 states. To read the full survey findings, visit: https://pages.eab.com/2023SuperintendentSurveyExecutiveBrief.html