For some reason these last days of the school year have me busy. So I don’t have a lot of time to write — except that I wanted to point out something especially for teachers (who must be even busier than I am, I guess).
A great new study released by the Friedman Foundation compares data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Schools & Staffing Survey and traces the attitudes of public school teachers vs. private school teachers on a whole host of issues. Out of the many results highlighted by co-authors Dr. Greg Forster and Christian D’Andrea, I wanted to bring your attention to a short few:
Private school teachers are much more likely to say they will continue teaching as long as they are able (62 percent v. 44 percent), while public school teachers are much more likely to say they’ll leave teaching as soon as they are eligible for retirement (33 percent v. 12 percent) and that they would immediately leave teaching if a higher paying job were available (20 percent v. 12 percent)….
Although salaries are higher in public schools, private school teachers are more likely to be satisfied with their salaries (51 percent v. 46 percent).
Well, that’s just a flavor for you. I think the real value of the report, though, is showing the power of school choice to benefit teachers. (On a similar note, there’s also the great 2007 Independent Women’s Forum publication by Dr. Vicki Murray titled Empowering Teachers with Choice.) Here’s how Forster and D’Andrea wrap up their report:
We can’t do much to improve learning unless we’re prepared to do what’s necessary to improve teaching. One of the most important factors that shapes teaching is the school environment. Where the predominant pressure on schools comes from political imperatives, which must always be the case in a government monopoly system, schools will not be focused on helping teachers teach. But where the predominant pressure on schools comes from parental demands for good educational results, which must prevail where schools have to compete for students, schools will do what it takes to ensure that teachers can do their jobs.
So this young prodigy is left to wonder: Who really speaks for the best interests of teachers?