Teach, teach, teach, that's all you ever do
As if budget cuts and salary freezes don't make Florida teachers mad enough, now comes a new national report on teacher development that says American teachers spend far more time teaching students than do their peers in other industrialized countries, and far less time planning, collaborating with colleagues and getting meaningful professional development.
U.S. teachers spend about 80 percent of their total working time teaching, says the report from the National Staff Development Council, compared to about 60 percent for teachers in the 30-member Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. In South Korea, Japan and Singapore - countries often held up as education models – teachers only spend about 35 percent of their time teaching.
"The United States is squandering a significant opportunity to leverage improvements in teacher knowledge to improve school and student performance," former North Carolina Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. writes in the report. "Other nations, our competitors, have made support for teachers and teacher learning a top priority with significant results. In these countries, students learn and achieve more. Teachers stay in the field longer and are more satisfied with their work."
The American Federation of Teachers quickly praised the report. In a news release, AFT president Randi Weingarten said:
"Recently, some policymakers have proposed so-called teacher quality reforms that, perversely, would make the teaching profession less attractive, undermine teacher morale and collaboration, and do nothing to help teachers teach and students learn. This report points to a better way forward, and we hope policymakers embrace the research-based measures described in this report, which have proven successful in other nations."
Ron Matus, state education reporter