What Do Educators Think About Education in America? (Preliminary Report #2 on our Survey Results)

Summary. We surveyed more than 2,500 educators (board members, superintendents, principals, teachers, counselors and support staff) and asked them to give their opinions on the trends in education in the past five years. (Are you an educator? Please take the survey here if you haven’t already.)

Here are some of the survey results so far.

  • What’s Going Well. Majority of educators believe that the quality of education, the quality of teachers and the use of interactive teaching techniques has gotten better in the past five years. They say schools are doing a better job developing critical thinking and higher learning and thinking skills, ethical and moral character traits, and social and emotional skills and qualities.
  • What’s Going Poorly. The majority of educators believe that teacher and administrator morale is deteriorating and nearly half (47%) believe the problem of getting essential resources is increasing.  They also believe that students are less willing to accept responsibility for their education, and that cyberbullying and other forms of Internet abuse are getting worse.
  • Split Decision. Educators are divided on whether these are getting better or worse: personal job satisfaction and trends in student violence and fighting, parent satisfaction and engagement and the ethical quality of student choices.

What’s going well?

  • 82% say that teacher techniques are improving – “teachers’ use of varied interactive instructional methods” – 24% much better, 58% somewhat better
  • 68% believe schools are doing a better job of developing critical thinking and higher learning and thinking skills – 16% much better, 52% somewhat better
  • 64% think the quality of education received by students has improved – 19% much better, 45% somewhat better
  • 61% say the quality of teachers is better – 18% much better, 43% somewhat better
  • 58% report that school efforts to develop ethical and moral character traits (e.g., honesty, respect, responsibility) have improved – 16% much better, 42% somewhat better
  • 54% believe that school’s efforts to develop social and emotional skills and qualities (e.g., self-awareness, self-management) are better – 12% much better, 42% somewhat better

What’s going poorly?

  • 65% say that teacher and administrator morale is worse – 26% much worse, 39% somewhat worse
  • 53% believe that the problem of cyberbullying is worse – 17% much worse, 36% somewhat worse
  • 51% report that students are less likely to accept responsibility for their own education – 20% much worse, 31% somewhat worse.
  • 50% think that imprudent or abusive use of the Internet and technology by students has become a larger problem – 14% worse, 36% much worse
  • 47% say the availability of essential resources is an increasing problem – 14% much worse, 33% somewhat worse

Where is there the most disagreement?

  • Job satisfaction – 38% believe job satisfaction for educators is improving, 38% say it is getting worse.
  • Student violence and physical fighting – 27% say the problem of violence is getting smaller, 27% say it is getting worse
  • Parent engagement with school – 27% say parent engagement is better, 32% say it is worse
  • Parent satisfaction with schools – 32% believe things are better, 28% report things are worse
  • Overall ethical quality of student choices and actions – 23% think students are making better choices, 35% think ethics and decision making are worse.

These results reflect the responses of more than 2,500 educators (board members, superintendents, principals, teachers, counselors and support staff) given between September 12, 2015 and October 10, 2015. The survey is still open to educators here. Given our sampling strategies and extensive experience in polling, we do not expect these to change beyond a plus or minus 3% range even as the sample substantially increases. We will provide detailed data to responsible researchers to permit further use of these survey results.

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Comments 2

  1. It’s got to be getting better for the optimist right!! These surveys only bring out who the optimist and pessimist are so phooey.

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