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Retaining Teacher Talent

Report 3. Convergence and Contradictions in Teachers’ Perceptions of Policy Reform Ideas

Introduction

As a new decade dawns, teachers stand at the center of a policy vortex. They serve as the primary focus of one of the Obama administration’s four pillars of educational reform— effective teachers and leaders. Educational reformers of all stripes have focused tremendous energy on thinking of ways to identify effective teachers and in turn recruit, retain, compensate, and support them. But what do teachers think of these ideas? What conclusions should reformers draw from teachers’ perceptions? This report is the third release of data from the Retaining Teacher Talent study conducted by Learning Point Associates and Public Agenda with the support of The Joyce Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The report suggests that what teachers think are good indicators of effectiveness—and what they think will make them more effective—are not always aligned with what policymakers or researchers think.

Some educational reformers have proposed dramatic changes to teacher evaluation, compensation, and working conditions in hopes that such changes will ultimately improve student learning. The success of these reforms, however, rests in large part on the support of those who will be most directly affected—teachers. Therefore, policymakers need to recognize the critical importance of including teachers in the debate to bring not only nuance and experience to the conversation but also to build legitimacy for the reforms as they are implemented. This report, intended for policymakers and teachers who want to influence policy, describes the implications of the results of the nationwide survey conducted by Learning Point Associates and Public Agenda. A discussion of the methodology and the results from the questionnaire can be found at www.RetainingTeacherTalent.org.

 

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