Only 5% of the teachers said that none of their students read on grade level while more than half of the teachers (54%) told us that more than 50% of their students read on grade level. Not stalwart numbers. Perhaps this goes with social promotion.
The reason why some students do better than others is because of parent involvement (43%) and stability at home (24%), some teachers muse. They don't believe it's because of natural ability or even their teaching, but the discipline and guidance in the home. Interestingly, in a separate Times survey of students, students believe it's because some of their classmates work harder and not because of a more stable home environment.
Tenure is a controversial issue in some circles, but not surprisingly, favored by most teachers, 69%. Yet, a quarter are not in favor of this benefit, including 30% of emergency-credentialed teachers. The newer teachers (1-5 years) are more opposed to it (31%) than the more experienced teacher (27% for those teaching 6-15 years and 21% for those teaching more than 15 years).
Are teachers more qualified today than they were ten years ago or not? Well, teachers are divided on this issue -- 30% say more qualified, 28% less qualified and 38% say as qualified. Emergency-credentialed teachers are more likely to say more qualified (41%) than their credentialed cohorts (27%). Conversely, credentialed teachers are more inclined to say teachers are less qualified (30%) than emergency-permit teachers (18%). Also newer teachers (two-thirds of whom have emergency-credentials) say more qualified, while the more experienced teachers believe that people going into the profession today are less qualified.
When asked why they believe these teachers are less qualified, the biggest single mention is that these teachers are emergency credentialed (40%), followed by no college training (27%) and inadequate credentialing (24%).
How would you attract the best qualified people to want to become teachers. Most teachers answered more money (60%). This has been the mantra of teachers and their unions for years. If college graduates can go out into the market place and start earning $40,000-$50,000 with more opportunities to advance why would they want to go into teaching. More incentives must be offered to entice the best qualified people to go into the profession. Teaching at one time was considered a noble profession -- the perception of "teacher" and the teaching profession has to be made more respectable again.
One way of doing that is through peer review. Tenure, unfortunately, allows mediocre and bad teachers to remain in the system. Teachers don't have an incentive to do better. Why should they when they have permanent job security. As long as teachers don't do anything criminally wrong, or defraud the system, they are allowed to stay in teaching. With peer review, schools might get better qualified teachers. More than a majority of teachers (53%) are in favor of peer review, while a quarter haven't heard about it, and 17% are not in favor of it.
Most teachers (72%) believe the quality of education the students are getting from emergency-credentialed teachers is worse than what is provided by fully credentialed teachers, while only 19% believe it is equal and just 2% say better. Even emergency-credentialed teachers are split as to whether they are worse than full teachers or equal to them (44% each). Only 4% of the emergency teachers think they are better qualified.
Almost two-thirds of the teachers, 65%, think the overall quality of their teacher training was either excellent or above average, 26% say average, just 9% say below average.
Standardized Testing/School Vouchers/Full Inclusion
Almost two-thirds (65%) of those surveyed approve of standardized testing as a requirement for students to advance to the next grade or graduate from high school. The newer teachers are divided over this issue (48%-47%), while the more experienced teachers are all for it (65%-29% for those teaching 6-15 years; 72%-23% for those teaching more than 15 years). But the most teachers also realize (69%) that minority students would be at a disadvantage with these kinds of tests.
Not surprisingly, 73% of teachers are opposed to school vouchers, including 62% who strongly oppose the program. (In a separate Times poll of California parents, 61% favor vouchers.)
More than 3 out of five of those surveyed do not want full inclusion, which places students with learning or behavioral disabilities in classrooms with students without any disabilities. The newer teachers are divided over this issue (47%-49%), while the more experienced teachers are overwhelmingly opposed to it (67%).
Those surveyed are divided over their impression of bilingual education (45% favor, 49% unfavorable). There is no clear consensus over this issue -- and they are just as confused as Californians in general are. Fully credentialed teachers have an unfavorable impression of bilingual education, while emergency-credentialed teachers have a favorable impression. Newer teachers (1-5 years) and those who have been teaching 6-15 years are in favor of these programs, while the more experienced teachers -- those who have taught more than 15 years -- have a negative view.
Yet, when read a definition of what bilingual education is, 57% are in favor of these programs, while 38% are opposed to it. Those who have taught more than 15 years now are divided over it, while the other teachers are more strongly for it. And the fully-credentialed teacher is now in favor of bilingual education.