Where We Teach

Liam Julian

Council of Urban Boards of Education
Brian Perkins
2007

This report evaluates survey responses from 4,700 teachers in thirteen urban districts, and from 267 principals and assistant principals in 51 schools. The biggest finding was that teachers and administrators--who, according to the study, tend to have similar perspectives on most facets of school operation--disagree about the potential for student success. Administrators were 25 percent more likely than teachers to disagree with the assertion that most students at their school would be unsuccessful at a community college or university, i.e. they were more optimistic about the kids' prospects. And when asked if students at their schools were capable of high achievement on standardized tests, 95 percent of administrators said yes, compared with 77 percent of teachers. The report recommends that all schools establish and cultivate the idea that all children can learn at high levels, but one wonders why more teachers don't already subscribe to such a philosophy. Fodder for another report, no doubt. But this one makes clear that one quarter of teachers in America's urban schools are less than optimistic about the potential of their charges. But it's heartening that fifteen years of "all children can learn" has yielded a cohort of administrators who run their schools with such expectations. So why, then, do our schools not perform up to the standards of those who run them? That's the tougher question. Read the report here.

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