Educators have often reported feeling that education policymakers leave their voice out of important decisions that affect their schools, classrooms, and students. In an effort to shift this paradigm, twelve Educators for Excellence teacher members from across the nation came together to develop the Voices from the Classroom: A Survey of America’s Educators survey for public school teachers. The nationally representative sample of 1,000 public school teachers provides valuable data about issues that matter to teachers, such as economic security, teacher leadership, teacher voice beyond the classroom, school safety and discipline, accountability and school choice.
The Educators for Excellence teachers recently published their results, in the hopes that the data will help more effectively influence and engage policymakers and the general public. In an accompanying video, Tracy Netter of Educators for Excellence Chicago recognizes that by formally sharing survey results, educators’ concerns and perspectives are elevated.
“These are the same things that people talk about at the water cooler at school and the teachers lounge. It’s just that now it’s on paper.”
Educators could use survey results to advocate for the change that matters most to them. Likewise, education policymakers and leaders, who may want the best for teachers and teachers but do not always seek their perspectives, might now identify key priorities in order to make well-informed and data-driven decisions that positively impact teachers and their students.
“Far too often decision-makers create education policies without meaningful input from teachers, and frequently these decisions directly conflict with teachers’ priorities,”
–Evan Stone, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Educators for Excellence
Key findings include:
- Teachers are very concerned about their economic security, so wages, salaries, benefits and job security are priority.
- Teachers are seeking more opportunities to lead while staying in the classroom, particularly as they relate to career pathways.
- Teachers want more opportunities to be heard beyond their classroom and within their unions in order to shape policy at all levels.
- Teachers are concerned about school safety and want more training to address school violence and improve student behavior using non-punitive strategies.
- Teachers believe that measuring long-term student growth is the single most important factor in evaluating schools’ and teachers’ effectiveness, but are interested in exploring non-traditional metrics; such as evaluating students’ daily work/projects/portfolios, classroom observations, and measures of school climate and culture.
- Teachers are open to school choice options, as long as they do not drain resources from public schools, are equally accessible to all students, and provide positive outcomes for low-income students.
For advocates interested in teacher voice and learning more about the survey and its results, please reach out.