Arizona Education Association

Summer 2013

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Educator Dissatisfaction at an All-Time High MetLife Survey of the American Teacher Results Should Be a Wake-Up Call Teacher job satisfaction has plummeted to its lowest level in 25 years, from 62 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2012 – a total of 23 points, according to the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, released February 21, 2013. Teachers reporting low levels of job satisfaction were more likely to be working in schools with shrinking budgets, few professional development opportunities, and little time allotted for teacher collaboration. "This news is disappointing but sadly, there are no surprises in these survey results. Teacher job satisfaction will continue to free fall as long as school budgets are slashed," said National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel. "Educators are doing everything they can to prepare their students to compete in the global economy, but the rug just keeps getting pulled out from under them." According to results of the annual survey, teacher stress levels have sharply increased, with half of teachers reporting that they feel like they are under great stress several days per week, as opposed to a third in 1985. Van Roekel said pressure on educators—including teachers, support staff and administrators—is at unprecedented levels and resources continue to be scarce. "Classrooms are already crammed with students, programs and services are being cut, and teachers are entering pink slip season," Van Roekel said. "Of course educators are wringing their hands. We must find ways to raise teachers' sense of personal fulfillment in their jobs through meaningful professional development, a sense of autonomy and professional responsibility, and most importantly, the ability to grow within the teaching profession if we are going to turn these numbers around." "Lawmakers must ask themselves, 'how much longer can our schools continue to be drastically underfunded and understaffed without significant damage to the quality of the education our students are receiving?' Educators work hard to give their students the great education they deserve, but the MetLife survey is compelling evidence that their resolve is wearing thin," said Van Roekel. Summer.13advo.indd 17 NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL This year's survey examines teacher and PERSPECTIVE principal views on the challenges facing school NATIONAL leaders (both principals and teacher leaders). Responses were collected during October and PERSPECTIVE November 2012 via in-depth telephone surveys NATIONAL with approximately 1,000 teachers and 500 principals in K-12 public schools. PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL Educators Confident about Implementing PERSPECTIVE Common Core but Unsure of Impact While national experts on teaching, stanNATIONAL dards, and leadership interviewed for the design PERSPECTIVE of the study have raised significant concerns about the readiness and capacity of schools to NATIONAL implement the Common Core State Standards, PERSPECTIVE a majority of teachers (62 percent) and nearly half of principals (46 percent) report teachers NATIONAL in their schools already are using the Common PERSPECTIVE Core a great deal in their teaching this year. Most NATIONAL Other Key Findings principals (90 percent) and PERSPECTIVE •Teachers are leaders, too: Even with teachers (93 percent) are these significant challenges, teachers are confident or very confiNATIONAL engaging in school leadership and looking dent that teachers in their PERSPECTIVE for opportunities to serve in other capacischools already have the ties. Half of teachers (51 percent) have a academic abilities and skills NATIONAL leadership role in their school, such as needed to implement these department chair, PERSPECTIVE instructional resource, new, rigorous standards. teacher mentor, or leadership team Those confidence levels NATIONAL member. have limits, however. PERSPECTIVE •Factors whose origins are beyond school Teachers and principals control represent the most significant are more likely to be very NATIONAL challenges: Three-quarters of teachconfident that teachers ers and principals PERSPECTIVE or more say that it have the ability to impleis challenging or veryNATIONAL challenging for ment the Common Core school leadership to manage budgets (53 percent of teachers; 38 PERSPECTIVE and resources to meet school needs (86 percent of principals) than percent of teachers; 78 percent of printhey are very confident cipals), address the individual needs of that the Common Core will diverse learners (78 percent of teachers; improve the achievement 83 percent of principals), and engage of students (17 percent of parents and the community in improving teachers; 22 percent of the education of students (73 percent of principals) or better prepare teachers; 72 percent of principals). students for college and the workforce (20 percent To view the entire MetLife survey, go to of teachers; 24 percent of principals). 2 AEA Advocate x Summer 2013 17 3/18/13 12:03 PM

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