Annual ed survey finds serious skepticism over common core

Only 17 percent of teachers and 22 percent of school principals believe the new common core curriculum standards will improve student achievement or prepare them for college and the workforce, according to findings of a new national poll.

That lack of confidence comes even though nearly nine out of 10 educators interviewed in the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher said they are knowledgeable about the common core and believe they have the academic skills and ability to properly carry out its implementation.

The Met survey, conducted every year since 1984, also found teacher job satisfaction has dropped a dramatic 23 percentage points since 2008 - including 5 percent in the last year alone.

A majority of teachers reported that they feel under great stress at least several days a week, which the poll authors said was a significant increase from 1985 when this was last measured.

Drawn from telephone interviews with 1,000 public school teachers in the U.S. and 500 school principals during the five week period ending Nov. 11, the survey was conducted by Harris Interactive for the insurance conglomerate. The researcher did not provide an estimate of sampling error, which they said could not be calculated.

Not surprisingly, a majority of teachers and principals reported that their school's budget has decreased in the last 12 months, and even greater proportions of teachers and principals indicated that managing within the budget cuts has become a major challenge.

Three-quarters of all principals say that the job has become too complex, and nearly half report feeling under great stress several days a week or more.

Principals in secondary schools and schools where only some students are reaching grade level in English language arts and mathematics indicate the greatest stress. While most principals report having a great deal of control in hiring teachers and making decisions about teachers' schedules, fewer than half have great control over removing teachers or over curriculum and instruction. Principals say they have the least control in making decisions about school finances, according to the poll.

Half of teachers now function in formal leadership roles such as department chair, instructional resource, teacher mentor, or leadership team member.

Major findings at a glance:

ï Nine in 10 (89 percent) principals say that ultimately a principal should be held accountable for everything that happens to the children in a school; 74 percent of teachers agree in 2012, compared with 60 percent in 1989.

ï Three-quarters (75 percent) of principals feel the job has become too complex.

ï Seven in 10 (69 percent) principals say the job responsibilities are not very similar to five years ago.

ï Job satisfaction among principals has decreased nine percentage points in less than five years, to 59 percent very satisfied from 68 percent very satisfied in 2008.

ï Half (48 percent) of principals feel under great stress several days a week.

ï Only about four in 10 principals say they have a great deal of control over curriculum and instruction (42 percent), and making decisions about removing teachers (43 percent).

ï Half (51 percent) of teachers have a leadership role in their school, such as department chair, instructional resource, teacher mentor, or leadership team member.

ï Half (51 percent) of teachers are at least somewhat interested in teaching in the classroom part-time combined with other roles or responsibilities in their school or district, including 23 percent who are extremely or very interested in this option.

ï Eighty-five percent of teachers rate the job their principal is doing as excellent or pretty good.

ï Nearly all principals (98 percent) rate the teachers in their school as doing an excellent or pretty good job.

ï Most teachers (69 percent) say they are not at all interested in becoming a principal.

ï More than seven in 10 educators identify addressing the individual needs of diverse learners (83 percent of principals; 78percent of teachers) and engaging parents and the community in improving education for students (72 percent of principals; 73 percent of teachers) as challenging or very challenging for school leaders.

ï A majority of educators say implementing the Common Core State Standards (67 percent of principals; 59 percent of teachers), creating and maintaining an academically rigorous environment (64 percent of principals; 62 percent of teachers), and evaluating teacher effectiveness (53 percent of principals; 56 percent of teachers) are challenging or very challenging.

ï Principals are most likely to say it is very important for principals to be able to use data about student performance to improve instruction (85 percent) and to lead development of strong teaching capacity across the school (84 percent) to be an effective school leader.

ï Teachers are most likely to say it is very important for a principal to have been a classroom teacher (79 percent) and give less importance to leading the development of strong teaching capacity across the school (69 percent) and using data about student performance to improve instruction (53 percent).

ï Less satisfied teachers are more likely than very satisfied teachers to be in schools where budgets declined in the last 12 months (61 percent vs. 47 percent) and to identify maintaining an adequate supply of effective teachers (58percent vs. 43percent) and creating and maintaining an academically rigorous learning environment (66 percent vs. 56 percent) as challenging or very challenging for school leaders.

ï Less satisfied teachers are more likely to be located in schools that had declines in professional development (21 percent vs. 14 percent) and in time for collaboration with other teachers (29 percent vs. 16 percent) in the last 12 months.

ï Nearly all teachers (97 percent) give high ratings to other teachers in their schools.

ï More principals find it challenging to maintain an adequate supply of effective teachers in urban schools (60 percent vs. 43 percent in suburban schools and 44 percent in rural schools) and in schools with two-thirds or more low-income students (58 percent vs. 37 percent in schools with one-third or fewer).

ï Principals in schools with at least two-thirds low-income students are more likely than those with one-third or fewer to say that engaging parents and the community in improving the education of students (86 percent vs. 46 percent) is very challenging or challenging.

ï Teachers and principals are more likely to be very confident that teachers have the ability to implement the common core (53 percent of teachers; 38 percent of principals) than they are very confident that the common core will improve the achievement of students (17 percent of teachers; 22 percent of principals) or better prepare students for college and the workforce (20 percent of teachers; 24 percent of principals).

ï A majority of teachers (62 percent) and a smaller proportion of principals (46 percent) say teachers in their schools are already using the common core a great deal in their teaching this year.

To read more:

https://www.metlife.com/metlife-foundation/what-we-do/student-achievement/survey-american-teacher.html?WT.mc_id=vu1101

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