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New Study: Teachers Supportive of Education Reforms
posted by: Alix | March 30, 2012, 05:17 PM   

Over the years, AAE membership surveys have covered a wide range of education policy issues and have often been critical in dispelling union-led perceptions that teachers are unsupportive of commonsense reforms. According to a new survey released by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in collaboration with Scholastic Education, the trend is in fact growing and teachers are embracing key education reforms like never before.

The survey asked 10,000 pre-K-12 public-school teachers questions about their satisfaction, environment and views on trending education policies. The metric of teacher support for certain policies is increasingly important as policy makers are searching for an authentic teacher voice among the union resistance. The evidence is also critical in promoting the agenda of the many education reform advocacy groups to the public and other stakeholders across the country.

Among the often cited education reforms, leaders in the movement claim that the keys to producing better outcomes for students lie in changing the way teachers are judged, paid, hired and fired. If teachers were compensated based on their effectiveness instead of seniority, proponents argue the U.S. would be on a path to success for teachers and students alike.

Overall, the study proves that teachers are indeed responding to the reform rallying cries. Among the results, teachers think it should take up to five years to receive tenure. About 90% of respondents say tenure "should reflect evaluations of teacher effectiveness," and answered that tenure should "not protect ineffective teachers." Teachers also called for more frequent and rigorous evaluations, as 85% of teachers surveyed signaled that they support the use of student achievement data in their evaluations, including test scores.

In a notable trend, veteran teachers (20 years of experience or more) had different opinion in relationship to tenure than less-experienced teachers (teaching less than four years). Reflecting their personal interests, new teachers were more likely to say teachers should gain the protections of tenure after fewer years. Further, long-time teachers were more likely to say that seniority should be the primary factor in determining the levels of layoffs.

While the results point to patterns based on experience, Scholastic Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Francie Alexander noted that the results in general are telling. "People really want to examine tenure more. Nobody wants tenure to protect teachers who aren't good," she claims.

The survey mirrors the results of AAE's most recent membership surveys, which also call for reforms based on teacher effectiveness. Eighty-one percent of AAE teacher respondents do not believe tenure is necessary to perform their job properly, and another 74% of teachers do not support lay-offs solely based on seniority.

Studies like these are critical in promoting needed change in our system. Teachers are on the front lines in American classrooms and deserve a voice in implementing these policies.

What do you think about the survey's results? Do they reflect your opinions?

Comment below.

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