National survey: 40 percent of teachers are 'disheartened'
There's a lot of bummed-out teachers in America -- burned out by too much testing, too many unruly kids and too much accountability pressure, according to the results of a nationwide survey released today.
The poll by Public Agenda, based on a nationally representative sample of 890 teachers, shows that 40 percent of teachers are disheartened. Asked about drawbacks to their jobs, 58 percent said there is too much testing, and 50 percent said there are too many kids with discipline problems. Asked what is the most difficult thing about teaching, 32 percent said unreasonable pressure to raise student achievement.
The survey also asked teachers about a host of other issues, with nuanced and sometimes surprising results:
* 75 percent said good teachers can lead all students to learn, even those from poor families or who have uninvolved parents, compared to 24 percent who said it's too hard for even good teachers to overcome those barriers.
* 39 percent said the effort that students make is determined by the level of motivation they bring to the classroom, while 59 percent said effort is mostly determined by what teachers do to motivate them.
* 35 percent said eliminating tenure would be very or somewhat effective in improve teacher effectiveness, while 66 percent said it wouldn't be very effective or not effective at all.
* 76 percent said making it easier to fire bad teachers would be very or somewhat effective in improving teacher effectiveness, while 23 percent said it wouldn't be very effective or not effective at all.
* 88 percent said increasing teacher salaries to the levels of other professions such as doctors and lawyers would be very or somewhat effective in improving teacher effectiveness, while 12 percent said it wouldn't be very effective or would not be effective at all.
(Photo from authoramandahoward.blogspot.com)