Thompson: Teachers' Attitudes Plummet To Reagan-Era Levels
The 2012 MET Life "The American Teacher" survey reported dramatic increases in teachers' dissatisfaction with their jobs during the last two years. The percentages of teachers thinking about leaving the profession is higher now than it was in 1986, the year when teacher satisfaction hit rock bottom. The parallels between the two nadirs for our profession are clear. Educators are now under attack in a time of economic struggles, and 43% of teachers are pessimistic about whether student performance will improve. In mid-1980s, as Reaganomics accellerated the decline of America's industrial base meaning that students brought much worse problems with them to school, we were also in an era of "reform." Back then, the Met Survey showed that the "least qualified" and the "most qualified" teachers were equally likely to leave education. Teachers reported by a two-to-one margin that reformers listened to administrators more than to those of us who were in the classroom. Teachers also reported by a two-to-one margin that their era's reforms were having a negative effect or no effect at all. For instance, teachers said that merit pay, in theory, could work. Among the 31 ideas for improving schools, the only one where the majority of teachers said that, real world, the policy "would not help at all" was merit pay.-JT (@drjohnthompson)image via.