The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Preparing Students for College and Careers

Earlier this month, MetLife released the findings of Part I of their
annual education survey, which focuses on what it means to be “college and
career ready.” The survey polled middle and high school teachers, students,
parents, and Fortune 1000 executives to determine how they feel about the
college and career-readiness goal and what students need to do to reach it.
Major takeaways from the survey include the following:

  • There is strong agreement among
    stakeholder groups that every high school student should graduate college and
    career ready.
    difference among those polled arises in the amount of priority they place on
    this issue. For example, 54 percent of teachers believe this is a priority
    compared to 73 percent of parents.  
  • Students’ expectations for going to
    college have increased in the past two decades.
    In 1988, 57 percent of students said it was likely
    they would go to college, as compared to 75 percent of students who believe
    that today.
  • A majority of students believe that
    their school does a good job of fostering a college-ready environment.
    On the contrary, parents and executives believe that
    schools could do a better job to inform students of the necessary steps to go
    to college.

While there
is broad agreement that all students should be ready for college or a career
when they graduate from high school, there is significant discord around
various reform efforts being taken to achieve this goal. For example, when
asked how much control schools should have to remove underperforming teachers,
seventy-five percent of parents show strongest support for “giving schools more
ability to remove teachers who are not serving students well.” Only 39 percent
of teachers highly prioritize this goal. 
Furthermore, while over 50 percent of parents and executives believe
that student growth data should be used to measure teacher effectiveness, only
27 percent of teachers feel the same. 

In Fordham’s
recent survey of Ohio superintendents, Yearning to
Break Free: Ohio Superintendents Speak Out
, district leaders expressed sentiments more similar
to surveyed parents than surveyed teachers. Fifty percent of Buckeye
superintendents said that expanding their management authority over staff would
lead to improvements in student achievement. When superintendents were asked to
rank which reform effort relating to staffing was the most important to them,
82 percent said that making it easier to remove unmotivated or incompetent
teachers was the most important. Also, 57 percent of superintendents surveyed
said that evaluating schools and districts based on student performance is a
positive thing. 

To read more
findings from the MetLife survey or from Fordham’s Ohio superintendent survey
click here and here, respectively.

The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher:
Preparing Students for College and Careers: Part 1: Clearing the Path

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
March 2011