Great Expectations: Teachers’ Views on Elevating the Teacher Profession

Baby-boomer retirements and mid-career (or early career!) departures have helped render America’s teaching force the greenest it has ever been. Does that mean it’s more receptive than ever to reforms? So you will read in this survey report from Teach Plus (interesting, even if the survey methods aren’t terribly rigorous). Of the “new majority” (teachers with ten or fewer years of experience), 71 percent favored using student gains as a factor in teacher evaluations. (Only 41 percent of veterans felt the same way.) Newbies were also more likely than veterans (42 versus 15 percent) to favor a new compensation system with higher tenure standards and higher starting and top salaries. Still, these young teachers are not ardent reformers: Neither subset of educators was willing to take larger class sizes for higher salaries, for example. Nor did either think that longer school days are necessary to increase achievement. How to leverage these findings to change teacher policy? The report offers one smart recommendation (building off the mission of Teach Plus itself): Encourage “new majority” teachers to seek leadership roles in their unions and districts.

SOURCE: Mark Teoh and Celine Coggins, Great Expectations: Teachers’ Views on Elevating the Teacher Profession (Boston, MA: Teach Plus, October 2012).

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