Project Tomorrow Reveals All-New Speak Up Survey Insights and Reflects on 20 Years

Celebrating 20 years of the annual Speak Up survey, Project Tomorrow’s latest insights and findings highlight what’s top of mind for educators

Project Tomorrow, one of the nation’s leading education nonprofits, announces new insights and findings from the latest Speak Up survey on the use of technology in schools and districts nationwide.

Celebrating 20 years, Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up Research Project is a national research initiative and provides a free service to schools and districts to learn about the views of their stakeholders. The largest collection of authentic voices on key educational issues in the digital age, Project Tomorrow’s annual survey encourages K–12 educators, students and families to share their ideas on the use of technology in school and other new learning models.

Key takeaways from the 2022–2023 Speak Up Research Project include:

  • Future-ready skill development matters to families and parents. They want schools to focus on helping their children develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, communication skills, time management skills and more.
  • Teachers report their student have more access to technology today than in the past, but teachers want more professional learning around instructional approaches using technology.
  • The top challenges for education leaders are staffing shortages and teacher retention, staff morale and mental health support for both students and staff.
  • While technology use is now part of the DNA of students’ learning behaviors, in-classroom use is still primarily passive and in support of adult management goals rather than student skill development.

“As schools and districts adapt to better prepare students for the future, we continue to see a greater focus on technology usage in the classroom as well as an emphasis on developing students’ future-ready skills,” said Dr. Julie Evans, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Researcher at Project Tomorrow. “Throughout these shifts, it’s crucial we elevate students’ voices and work hand-in-hand with them to better support learning together.”

The development of the Speak Up survey is a year-long process, and the topics change to ensure the survey is relevant and reflects what’s top of mind for education leaders. Since 2003, more than 6.2 million K–12 stakeholders have participated in the initiative—helping inform federal and state policies, as well as local changes at the individual school level.

To celebrate the 20-year-milesone, Project Tomorrow will release a series of four reports highlighting the 2022–2023 data findings from over 50,000 students, teachers, parents and administrators nationwide, along with retrospective data and findings from the past 20 years. Each report will focus on a different audience. To receive the reports as they are released, please sign up for alerts here. Here is when each report will be released:

  • The student-focused report will be released on November 7, 2023, at SETDA’s annual Leadership Summit and Ed Forum.
  • The teacher-focused report will be released at FETC on January 23, 2024.
  • The administrator-focused report will be released at AASA NCE on February 15, 2024.
  • The parent-focused report will be released at SXSW EDU on March 4, 2024.

Project Tomorrow unveiled the insights from this year’s Speak Up survey during the 2023 Speak Up Congressional Briefing hosted on edWeb. In the Briefing, Dr. Evans reflected on 20 years of research and a panel of high school and middle school students responded to the findings and provided their own recommendations for improving American education. In addition, during their reception Project Tomorrow recognized 10 school districts and their superintendents for their commitment to improving education for all students through the effective use of their local stakeholders’ feedback:

  • Conrad Farner, Arrowhead Union High School District (Hartland, WI)
  • Diana Sayavedra, El Paso Independent School District (El Paso, TX)
  • Nick Ouellette, Hudson School District (Hudson, WI)
  • Matt Moore, Jessamine County Schools (Nicholasville, KY)
  • Rhonda Taylor, Lakeside Union School District (Lakeside, CA)
  • Andrew S. Johnsen, San Marcos Unified School District (San Marcos, CA)
  • Suzanne Lacey, Talladega County Schools (Talladega, AL)
  • Dennis Willingham, Walker County Schools (Jasper, AL)
  • Richard Rivera, Weslaco Independent School District (Weslaco, TX)
  • Xavier De La Torre, Ysleta Independent School District (El Paso, TX)

Project Tomorrow also recognized the School Superintendents Association (AASA) as a Speak Up Champion Outreach Partner and David Schuler, Executive Director of AASA, accepted the recognition on behalf of the AASA team. Educators can view the Congressional Briefing recording via edWeb and earn a CE certificate through the platform.

The Speak Up Research Project and the 20-year-celebration is generously supported by AIS, Agile Education Marketing, BrainPOP, CB&A, edWeb, iboss and Spectrum Enterprise/Charter Communications.

To view the latest Speak Up survey insights and to sign up for the upcoming series of in-depth reports, please visit https://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/2023reports/.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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