Dear Commons Community,
There were two very different articles in the media yesterday commenting on teacher issues. The first was a report concluding teachers’ job satisfaction plummeted in 2012, reaching an all-time low, according to a survey released Thursday. As reported by The Huffington Post:
“We’ve seen a continuous decline in teacher satisfaction,” said Dana Markow, vice president of youth and education research for pollster Harris Interactive, which conducted the poll for the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher.
Teachers’ job satisfaction has declined 23 percentage points in the five years since 2008, according to the long-running survey of educators and principals. Only 39 percent of teachers reported they were very satisfied, the least since 1987, the survey showed. The percentage of teachers who said they were very satisfied dropped five percentage points in 2012.
“This news is disappointing but sadly, there are no surprises in these survey results,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union. “Teacher job satisfaction will continue to free fall as long as school budgets are slashed.”
The least satisfied teachers are those who work in schools that have slashed budgets, and who have less time for collaboration with peers and professional development than teachers at other schools. The poll found that 86 percent of teachers and 78 percent of principals reported their schools face budgeting problems, and 73 percent of teachers and 72 percent of principals said it’s hard to engage their communities to improve public schools.
The survey comes as states are implementing education reform policies favored by the Obama administration, raising teacher stress as they try to improve student achievement benchmarks. The changes, including teacher evaluations that stress students’ standardized test performance, curbs on tenure and Common Core learning standards, were passed by state legislatures in previous years, but beginning to take effect now. President Barack Obama proposed a new teacher satisfaction initiative in his 2012 State of the Union address, but failed to deliver on it.
The second article appeared in the New York Post commenting on television ads (costing $250.000) put out by the non-profit group, Educators 4 Excellence (E4E), that calls on Mario Cuomo to enact a new teacher evaluation system in New York and to push aside the negotiating rights of the United Federation of Teachers. There is no problem with individuals or groups voicing their opinions on television or any other media but E4E, a supposed grass-roots teacher activist group, receives significant funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates and Carnegie Foundations to promote their education policy positions and without this type of funding would not be able to mount such costly ads. E4E is another version of StudentsFirst, the Michelle Rhee profit center that seeks to influence education policy according to her “bash the teacher” policies that demoralized the Washington, D.C. school system when she was its superintendent.