- For its new report, "Listen to Us: Teacher Views and Voices," the Center on Education Policy surveyed a nationally representative sample of public school teachers, finding many are frustration over changing policies, frequency and length of tests, and a lack of voice in decision-making.
- District Administrator reports close to half of respondents said they did not feel heard at the school level, and those who did feel like they had a stake in decision-making were more likely to report being happy with their jobs.
- While teachers had some complaints about testing, about 75% saw the value in state and district tests in some form — though they mentioned significant frustration with the frequently changing educational standards they were expected to conform to.
Teachers have been hit hard in the latest round of education reform, where they are often called out as the scapegoats who must accept responsibility for failing systems. Principals and other administrators responding to pressure from above may inadvertently apply undue pressure on their staffs or announce sweeping initiatives developed far away from the classroom.
The Center on Education Policy report makes clear that creating space for teacher voices in decision-making is critical to maintaining morale. Teacher working conditions are student learning conditions, which means when teachers are happy, they can create better learning environments for students. Edutopia compiled a list of six additional proposals for boosting teacher morale, a critical step in school improvement.