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New Report Reveals Educator Optimism at Highest Level Since 2015, Though Critical Concerns Paint a Complex Portrait of Today’s Teaching Experience

Fourth Annual HMH Educator Confidence Report Underscores Educator Anxiety Around Salaries, Funding and Safety for the First Time

BOSTON - Learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced the results of its fourth annual Educator Confidence Report, a survey of more than 1,200 K-12 teachers and school and district administrators, which investigates key issues impacting today’s educators. The survey, created in collaboration with market research and data analytics firm YouGov, explores educator sentiment toward the teaching profession, covering a broad range of topical and emotional drivers such as use of educational technology in the classroom, equity, school safety, funding and more.

The results offer a nuanced portrait of the current educator experience, revealing a professional community striving to balance its unwavering commitment to students and hope for the future with deeply felt concerns set against an especially challenging national backdrop. To download and read the full report, please visit:

Educators reported an upward trend in overall sentiment (53 percent of educators are optimistic about the profession, up 25 percent since our inaugural survey in 2015), citing positive feelings about the following bright spots in their practice: teacher collaboration around student learning (55 percent), a shift in standards toward critical thinking (46 percent) and using data to inform teaching and differentiation (45 percent).

Additional key findings from the fourth annual Educator Confidence Report include:

  • Digital usage is higher than ever, but teachers lack the time needed to realize the potential of ed tech. This year, 96 percent of educators report they have seen the benefits of using ed tech in the classroom, citing improved student engagement as the number one benefit (63 percent). However, 52 percent of teachers report that the biggest barrier to more effective use of technology is lack of time to integrate digital materials and tools into instruction.

  • For the first time, salaries, lack of funding and school safety top the list of concerns. A solid majority of educators (69 percent) said teacher salaries are a main concern, followed by lack of funding at 60 percent. Forty-two percent say school safety issues have not been adequately addressed in their school or district, tied with differentiating instruction for special education and other student populations.

  • Ninety-four percent of educators believe that a meaningful connection between teacher and student is the most important aspect of learning. Fifty-three percent, however, worry that today’s growing emphasis on using technology for learning may be coming at the expense of that critical personal relationship.

  • If potential time-savings from ed tech were fully realized, 76 percent of teachers would use that extra time to work more closely with students who need intervention. Fifty-seven percent of teachers would work individually with students, and 52 percent would provide enrichment opportunities.

  • Eighty percent of teachers believe that technology has empowered them to strengthen their teaching practice. However, 69 percent also think technology’s full potential to improve workflows and save time has not yet been realized. 

  • Inconsistent access to ed tech and variations in outlook regarding its efficacy exist across schools of differing socio-economic status. Despite having less access to technology overall, teachers in high-poverty schools are more likely to report experiencing improved student achievement from ed tech (41 percent vs. 22 percent of teachers in low-poverty schools). 

 “The fourth annual HMH Educator Confidence confirms what we have always known and what we consider to be core to our learning company ethos: that nothing is more important than the teacher-student relationship,” said Jack Lynch, President and CEO, HMH. “It’s critical that we listen to educators, and the issues that are most important to them. This data brings us closer to those we serve and deepens our understanding of how we can partner with, advocate for and support educators in our shared goal of improving student outcomes for all learners.”

About the Educator Confidence Report

The Educator Confidence Report is an annual independent study, distributed to a diverse national cross section. The fourth annual survey content was crafted and analyzed by learning company HMH and YouGov, and survey programming, sample recruitment and data-collection monitoring was directed by MDR.  The administrative group included school principals, superintendents, curriculum heads and chief technology and chief information officers. Teachers from across the K-12 spectrum completed the survey. Math, science, social studies, English language arts and literacy, in addition to general classroom teachers were represented.

To learn more about the fourth annual HMH Educator Confidence Report, which examines additional topics including social media usage among educators, widely employed teaching strategies used alongside technology and professional development, please visit

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ: HMHC) is a global learning company committed to delivering integrated solutions that engage learners, empower educators and improve student outcomes. As a leading provider of K-12 core curriculum, supplemental solutions and professional learning services, HMH partners with educators and school districts to uncover solutions that unlock students' potential and extend teachers' capabilities. HMH serves more than 50 million students and 3 million educators in 150 countries, while its award-winning children's books, novels, non-fiction and reference titles are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. For more information, visit

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Media Contact: 
Meghan Daly