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National Teacher Survey Displays Support for Education Reform

National Teacher Survey Displays Support for Education Reform

The Association of American Educators released its 2015 Membership Survey looking at the nation’s popular education and labor policies.

The survey results “show progressive stances toward education reforms, particularly with regard to school choice, technology, teacher preparation, leadership, and collective bargaining,” said a press release.

"AAE is pleased to give reform-minded educators a voice," said AAE Executive Director Gary Beckner in the release. "The opinions expressed in this survey are those of real educators, not bureaucrats or union leaders with pre-set agendas."

According to the release, “while the establishment sees school choice as a threat to their unionized monopoly, AAE teachers support certain laws that advance school choice and promote options for both teachers and students: 

  • 97% of surveyed teachers support public charter schools.
  • 94% of teachers support course choice allowing students to craft custom educational plans via different providers.
  •  56% of AAE members support Arizona's Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs), allowing parents of special needs students to choose a school that best suits their child's needs.

As new technologies make flexibility a reality, states across the country are implementing policies that offer and encourage online learning. AAE members embrace new technologies as a means to better prepare students for the 21st century:

  • 92% of AAE members utilize technology in their classrooms.
  • 67% of survey respondents agree with a proposal that would require students to take an online course to graduate.
  • 68% of teachers would support a blended learning environment where students spend part of their day with a teacher and part of their day on a computer.

Leaders on both the state and federal levels are calling for raising the bar for incoming teachers. AAE members are vocal about attracting excellent candidates to careers in teaching: •

  • 37% of AAE members admit not feeling prepared for the classroom after traditional college of education experiences.
  • 76% agree with a National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) report that recommends rigorous teacher preparation requirements, including a 3.0 GPA and the passage of subject-matter tests to gain entry into teaching programs.
  • 66% agree that to attract new teachers and those with experience in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects we need to explore alternative certifications, allowing degreed professionals easier paths to the classroom.

AAE members are also eager to embrace accountability and professionalism. Teachers are interested in initiatives that advance their careers and explore innovative pay raises:

  • 60% of teachers supported a North Carolina bill that proposed an 11% pay raise in exchange for giving up traditional tenure.
  • 71% of those surveyed are interested in a hybrid teaching role that would encompass teaching in the classroom part time with additional leadership roles in a school/ district.

Transparency also plays a key role in the future of education. AAE members support efforts to engage stakeholders:

  • 67% of survey respondents agree with a new Colorado law requiring school boards to let the public observe collective bargaining negotiations.
  •  93% of teachers agree with a Massachusetts law calling for every employee who may be alone with students to be fingerprinted in order to check for arrests and convictions nationwide.
  • 86% of teachers supported a California law designed to protect personal student information.

Collective bargaining and labor reforms are also considered by AAE member teachers:

  • 64% of those surveyed would prefer to negotiate their own contract so that they can negotiate a salary and benefits package that best suits their lifestyle."

"We are proud to represent educators who are thoughtfully considering education reforms," Beckner said in the release. "We hope these findings will be a useful tool for policymakers and stakeholders on all levels.

Complete results of the survey can be found here.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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