Teacher Survey Shows Educators Sentiments are Far Cry from Union Stances
Alexandria, VA - Today the Association of American Educators (AAE), the largest national non-union teachers’ association, released its annual member survey about key education issues. Survey results showed distinct differences in opinion with teacher labor unions, particularly with regard to teacher evaluations, tenure, accountability, and compensation.
At a time when teachers have largely been pushed aside in the education reform dialogue, AAE is listening to those truly on the front lines of education, surveying members from all 50 states in the summer of 2010.
“AAE is committed to surveying its members on a regular basis so that we can better serve and represent their views,” stressed AAE Executive Director, Mr. Gary Beckner. “The labor unions claim to represent teachers and oppose reforms at every turn. It’s clear that sentiments are changing and teachers are warming to reforms. These survey results indicate a complete contradiction to the same old union mantras.”
The survey finds its members encouraging reforms on certain conditions. Educators do not want to be left out of the debate, and they want reformers to understand the challenges they face each day in the classroom.
Opposition against teacher evaluation based solely on student test scores is strong. However, the common perception that educators do not want to be evaluated by test scores is a sweeping generalization. Eighty percent of teachers surveyed support a value-added assessment when student test scores are used as part of teacher evaluation. Student test scores ranked higher in evaluating teacher effectiveness, second only to administrative/ faculty review. Notably, years in the system ranked last among quantifiers of evaluation.
Despite the fact that teachers unions promote tenure as a crucial means of protection for teachers to be able to perform their jobs, the AAE member survey showed educators have a different opinion. Eighty-one percent of those surveyed responded that tenure is not necessary for an educator to properly perform his or her job effectively. Further, eighty percent of respondents disagree that achieving tenure indicates an effective teacher.
In fact, measures from different states were weighed in on as a gauge to support teacher accountability overall. When posed with examples in states like Colorado, AAE members overwhelmingly support (81 percent) a policy that teachers may lose tenure if they are deemed ineffective for two consecutive years.
With regard to compensation, despite strong efforts by the labor unions to keep educators on a structured pay scale based on tenure, AAE members support certain types of differentiated pay and disagree strongly with the saying, “Last hired, first fired.” More than 80 percent of survey participants supported teachers being paid more for taking on additional roles and responsibilities in their schools, and 79 percent supported educators being paid more to teach in high need schools such as inner city or rural schools.
“It’s clear that the education landscape is vastly different than just a decade ago. This recent survey reflects that teachers’ attitudes are changing as well,” explained Beckner. “We hope these findings can become a tool for reformers and policy makers alike to include teachers as part of the education reform discourse, showcasing that the union does not speak for all teachers.”
Complete results of the survey can be found at www.aaeteachers.org/2010surveypdf.
The Association of American Educators is the largest national, non-union, professional educators' association, offering an alternative to the partisan politics and non-educational agendas of the teacher labor unions. AAE does not endorse, support or contribute to any political cause or candidacy. AAE has members in all 50 states and welcomes professionals from all education entities. Membership is $180 per year. www.aaeteachers.org.