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MetLife Teacher Survey: A Rorschach Test For Policy?

My colleague Liana Heitin outlines everything you need to know about the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, including its headline findings that teacher job satisfaction continues to plunge, principals feel overwhelmed by the demands of the job, and that teachers feel ready to implement the Common Core State Standards.

In a way, this survey's results always seems like a bit of a Rorschach test for Washington's chattering classes: You see what you want to see in the results. The National Education Association, in a statement, tied the fall in teacher job satisfaction to the nation's economic woes. "Teacher job satisfaction will continue to free fall as long as school budgets are slashed," its president, Dennis Van Roekel, said. The American Federation of Teachers called on policymakers to provide teachers with the "tools, support, and resources" they need, which is an iteration of the union's earlier "tools, time, and trust" mantra. Those critical of the Obama administration's reforms are likely to say that the accountability and teacher-evaluation focus it's promoted have led to increased demoralization among teachers.

Meanwhile, you'll also want to check out my colleague Catherine Gewertz's take on the common-core implications in the survey. Teachers generally report feeling confident they're ready to teach to the new expectations, but whether are not they are actually well prepared to do so is another matter entirely. (Most teacher-preparation programs I've talked to are aware of the challenge here, but are still just starting to figure out how to revamp their programming.)

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