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Technology Integration

40,000 Teachers Speak Out on Fixing U.S. Schools in New National Survey

March 3, 2010

Results from what has to be one of the largest surveys of American teachers ever undertaken were released Wednesday. Teacher opinions on everything from merit pay to principal support to professional development revealed some surprising trends. The survey was sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Scholastic. Here is an executive summary of the findings. You can also download the full report here.

NPR covered the results on their "Talk of the Nation" program and added interesting commentary from a host of teachers. Listen here.

Finally, some smart analysis from The Washington Post.

Below is an excerpt from their coverage:

Among the survey's findings:
To retain good teachers, 68 percent called supportive leadership "absolutely essential," 45 percent said the same of higher salaries and 8 percent listed performance pay. Many of those surveyed also described "relevant" professional development as essential, along with "clean and safe" working conditions, time for teachers to collaborate and access to high-quality curriculum. In addition, 71 percent said monetary rewards for teacher performance would have moderate or no impact on student achievement.

Fifty-nine percent said establishing common standards across states would have a strong or very strong impact on achievement, and 73 percent said clearer academic standards would produce such benefits. But 69 percent said the rigor of their own state's standards was "about right," and teachers were nearly evenly split on whether their own state has "too many standards" or "the right amount."

Just over half of those responding called state and district tests somewhat important for measuring academic achievement, and more than one-quarter called them very important or essential.

Do you see any of your own views in all this?

-- David Markus, Edutopia's editorial director

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