There is this motley group of people and organizations in the U.S. who call themselves “reformers.” Few of them are educators. Most are corporate leaders, pundits, think tank thinkers, or rightwing politicos.
They say they want to “fix” education but their main goals seem to be to belittle the people who actually work in schools and to close down public schools in high-poverty districts.
These self-named reformers (did GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz write their playbook?) have been in charge of federal policy since the passage of No Child Left Behind. President Barack Obama built his Race to the Top program right on top of the NCLB approach.
And what’s the result?
The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher 2013 says the troops are stressed out, demoralized, and doing their best to survive. What kind of general would go into a crucial battle with his heavy artillery pointed at his own troops?
Actually, the survey includes both teachers and principals. Both are beaten down by the Bush-Obama reforms. It seems that the non-educators and entrepreneurs decided that to impose their ideas without bothering the people who do the daily work.
Three-quarters of principals say their job has become far too complex. Half of them feel stressed out lost daily. Their job satisfaction has declined, and about one-third of them are thinking of quitting.
Despite the constant reformer sniping and whining about “bad” teachers, 98% of principals–the ones with boots on the ground–have a positive view of their teachers.
But we have all seen those Hollywood movies that tell us teachers suck, and teachers have seen them too.
The reformers’ nasty portrayal of our nation’s teachers has had the following result:
“Teacher satisfaction has declined to its lowest point in 25 years and has dropped five percentage points in the past year alone, from 44% to 39% very satisfied. This marks a continuation of a substantial decline noted in the 2011 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher; teacher satisfaction has now dropped 23 percentage points since 2008.”
Principals and teachers think they can implement the Common Core standards but only one out of five educators (or fewer) feel “very confident that the new standards will raise achievement or better prepare their students for college and careers.
Among high school principals and teachers, only 11-15% of principals and teachers are very confident that the Common Core will help their students.
Bottom line: a workforce in the schools that is increasingly demoralized, stressed out because of the demands imposed on them by politicians, and worried that they and their students are being set up to fail by clueless reformers.
When will the CEOs of the “reform” movement be held accountable for the harm they are inflicting on students, teachers, and principals?