ERIC Number: ED564600
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jan-21
In the Quest to Improve Schools, Have Teachers Been Stripped of Their Autonomy?
Boser, Ulrich; Hanna, Robert
Center for American Progress
Over the past few years, there has been an ever-growing chorus of those who grumble that teachers are unhappy with their lack of control and freedom and have grown to deeply dislike their jobs. This article asks if teachers really lack autonomy and freedom, and wonders if as a nation, whether or not we have reached the right balance of accountability and autonomy that is necessary for workplace innovation, career satisfaction and over results. To gain a better handle on this issue, the authors examined a number of relevant data sets. First an analysis of the 2011-12 Schools and Staffing Survey, or SASS, a nationally representative survey of teachers and principals administered regularly by the National Center for Education Statistics was conducted. Second they looked at various state surveys, including 2013 data from Kentucky and Tennessee, as well as other recent national polling data on teacher attitudes. The data suggest something much different than the conventional wisdom. In fact, teachers are far more autonomous--and far more satisfied--than most people believe. This article suggests that in many ways, the problem is in the perception of the way we think about educator autonomy and suggests some changes to what could be an outdated mindset on the issue. The authors make an argument that while teachers should be given a great deal of leeway over how they teach, the country also needs to do a far better job of defining what teachers need to teach. The authors conclude by saying in the end, the teaching profession will be all the better for it. Six data tables looking at teacher control are appended.
Descriptors: Educational Improvement, Professional Autonomy, Teacher Surveys, Principals, Administrator Surveys, Geographic Location, Teacher Attitudes, Job Satisfaction, Tables (Data), National Surveys, Elementary Secondary Education, Common Core State Standards, Faculty Development, Teaching Conditions, Instructional Materials, Public School Teachers, Teaching Methods
Center for American Progress. 1333 H Street NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-682-1611; Web site: http://www.americanprogress.org
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: Center for American Progress
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Schools and Staffing Survey (NCES)