|New Survey: Teacher Morale at a Low Point|
|posted by: Alix | March 08, 2012, 08:33 PM|
In light of the difficult economy and the debate over various education reforms, teachers across the country are no doubt in a state of flux. With half of the current workforce set to retire in the next ten years, and an ongoing discussion about attracting new teachers to the profession, current classroom teachers are clearly feeling the heat. According to the 28th annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, educator job satisfaction is at the lowest it's been in more than two decades.
The report is based on telephone interviews of 1,001 U.S. public school teachers conducted last fall and indicates a definite decline in morale. Overall, the data finds that just 44% of teachers are "very satisfied" with their jobs, down from 59% in 2009. The last time job satisfaction dipped this low was in 1989. Further, 29% of teachers say they are likely to leave the teaching profession within the next five years—up from 17% in 2009.
With regard to job security, the findings are striking. In 2006, just 8% of teachers said they did not feel their job was secure. Following five years of a recession, budget cuts, and "last in first out" policies, that figure has more than quadrupled, with 34% now saying they feel a lack of job security.
The statistics have left many to speculate the reasons for the decline and what impact they will have on the profession. Regis Shields, director of Education Resource Strategies, an urban education non-profit organization, called the turnover statistics the most shocking. "What we need more information on is who the 29% of teachers likely to leave the teaching profession are," she said. "If these aren't effective teachers and this increases the effectiveness of the teaching force, that's great. If they're high-quality teachers, then we have some concerns."
Others assert the findings can be explained by the financial crisis. More than 75% of the teachers surveyed said the schools where they teach had undergone budget cuts last year, and about as many of them said the cuts included layoffs — of teachers and others, like school aides and counselors. With those numbers in mind, teachers are understandably frustrated by the turmoil they are seeing in their state or district.
Here at AAE, the results were not surprising. We work with teachers everyday who are frustrated with the massive transformation occurring in public education. It's important to recognize, however, that this is a direct result of citizens demanding change at the voting booth and wanting a higher quality education for their children. While the process to meet these demands is difficult and time-consuming, as educators, we must rise to the occasion for the sake of our students.
In moving forward, AAE recognizes that teachers absolutely need to be part of the conversation as we reform a system that works for students, communities and teachers. We look forward to representing an authentic teacher voice in the ongoing education reform dialogue.
What do you think about the results of the survey?