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Retaining Teacher Talent

Report 2. Teaching for a Living

Survey Results By Group

For this research, we conducted a “cluster analysis,” examining the data in terms of how teachers grouped naturally based on perceptions and demographics. We believe this is even more significant than the traditional separations by age, school-type, race or income, although the segments often coalesced along demographic lines.

In the survey, we found that teachers divided into three groups: the Idealists (23 percent), the Contented (37 percent) and the Disheartened (40 percent). Each of the four groups has a distinctive set of attitudes and concerns that shape how they approach teaching and education reform.

Results of less than 0.5 percent are signified by an asterisk. Results of zero are signified by a dash. Responses may not always total 100 percent due to rounding or the omission of some answer categories. Combining answer categories may produce slight discrepancies between numbers in these survey results and number in the report.

Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q1. Held for future release
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q2a. How important was each of the following factors to your decision to go into teaching? How about -- Having a teacher who really inspired you as a student? One of the most important factors 35% 28% 34% 32%
A major factor 33% 36% 32% 34%
Minor factor 18% 24% 23% 21%
Not a factor at all 12% 11% 11% 11%
Don’t know/Refused 1% 1% - 1%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q2b. How important was each of the following factors to your decision to go into teaching? How about -- Having a parent or family member who was a teacher? One of the most important factors 11% 12% 10% 11%
A major factor 13% 11% 10% 12%
Minor factor 13% 12% 10% 12%
Not a factor at all 63% 64% 70% 65%
Don’t know/Refused * 1% - *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q2c. How important was each of the following factors to your decision to go into teaching? How about -- The idea of putting underprivileged kids on the path to success? One of the most important factors 16% 27% 42% 26%
A major factor 40% 47% 36% 42%
Minor factor 29% 17% 18% 22%
Not a factor at all 14% 8% 3% 9%
Don’t know/Refused * 1% 1% 1%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q2d. How important was each of the following factors to your decision to go into teaching? How about -- The practical job benefits such as summers off, more time with family and job security? One of the most important factors 16% 15% 12% 15%
A major factor 33% 38% 36% 35%
Minor factor 34% 31% 35% 33%
Not a factor at all 17% 15% 17% 16%
Don’t know/Refused * 1% - *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q2e. How important was each of the following factors to your decision to go into teaching? How about -- Teaching a subject that you love and getting kids excited about it? One of the most important factors 48% 51% 42% 48%
A major factor 42% 40% 45% 42%
Minor factor 5% 5% 10% 7%
Not a factor at all 4% 3% *% 3%
Don’t know/Refused * 1% 2% 1%
Q3. Held for future release
Q4. Held for future release
Q6. Based on your personal experience, please tell us whether each is a major drawback, a minor drawback, or not a drawback for you:
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q6a. Low salary Major drawback 26% 53% 31% 38%
Minor drawback 50% 43% 47% 47%
Not a drawback for you 24% 4% 22% 15%
Don’t know/Refused - * - *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q6b. There is so little prestige associated with being a teacher Major drawback 11% 34% 7% 19%
Minor drawback 42% 43% 38% 41%
Not a drawback for you 48% 23% 55% 39%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q6c. There’s a lack of support from administrators Major drawback 7% 61% 9% 29%
Minor drawback 46% 37% 44% 42%
Not a drawback for you 47% 2% 46% 29%
Don’t know/Refused - - 1% *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q6d. Too many threats to personal safety Major drawback 1% 13% 1% 6%
Minor drawback 23% 41% 30% 32%
Not a drawback for you 75% 45% 69% 62%
Don’t know/Refused * - - *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q6e. There is too much testing Major drawback 49% 70% 52% 58%
Minor drawback 34% 25% 42% 32%
Not a drawback for you 16% 5% 5% 9%
Don’t know/Refused 1% - 2% 1%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q6f. There is not enough freedom to be creative Major drawback 15% 39% 14% 25%
Minor drawback 38% 46% 46% 43%
Not a drawback for you 46% 15% 40% 32%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q6g. Too many kids with discipline and behavior issues Major drawback 41% 72% 24% 50%
Minor drawback 45% 22% 56% 38%
Not a drawback for you 14% 6% 19% 12%
Don’t know/Refused * - - *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q6h. There is not enough room to grow in the profession Major drawback 4% 20% 5% 11%
Minor drawback 26% 50% 37% 38%
Not a drawback for you 70% 29% 55% 50%
Don’t know/Refused * * 3% 1%
Q7. Held for future release
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q8. Do you think of teaching as a lifelong career choice, do you think you’ll probably leave the classroom for another job in education, or will you change fields altogether? Lifelong career choice 81% 68% 63% 72%
Probably leave the classroom for another job in education 10% 20% 36% 20%
Change fields altogether 6% 11% 1% 7%
Don’t know/Refused 3% 1% - 1%
Q9a. Held for future release
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q10a. Teaching is so demanding, it's a wonder that more people don't burn out. Strongly agree 35% 73% 37% 51%
Somewhat agree 49% 24% 50% 40%
Somewhat disagree 13% 2% 9% 8%
Strongly disagree 3% 1% 3% 2%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q10b. Teaching is exactly what I wanted – there is nothing I’d rather be doing. Strongly agree 63% 40% 46% 50%
Somewhat agree 27% 40% 44% 36%
Somewhat disagree 10% 14% 9% 11%
Strongly disagree * 6% * 2%
Don’t know/Refused - - * *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q10c. I believe that all my students, given the right support, can go to college if they choose. Strongly agree 30% 39% 54% 39%
Somewhat agree 36% 34% 30% 34%
Somewhat disagree 22% 17% 12% 17%
Strongly disagree 13% 10% 5% 10%
Don’t know/Refused * * - *
Q11. Held for future release
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q12. If you had to pick from this list, which would be the most difficult thing about being a teacher, is it [READ AND RANDOMIZE 1-5]? Lack of support from administrators 5% 20% 7% 11%
Lack of support from parents 30% 15% 26% 23%
Lack of effort from students 31% 22% 20% 25%
Low pay and lack of opportunity for advancement 4% 7% 18% 8%
Unreasonable pressure to raise student achievement 29% 36% 28% 32%
None of these (VOL.) * - * *
Don’t know/Refused * * 2% 1%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q13. When it comes to having an orderly, safe and respectful school atmosphere, are the working conditions at your school Very good 76% 28% 68% 55%
Manageable 22% 58% 32% 39%
A serious problem 2% 14% * 6
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q14. And when it comes to class size and teaching load, are the working conditions at your school…(READ 1-3) Very good 37% 16% 38% 29%
Manageable 58% 59% 58% 58%
A serious problem 6% 25% 4% 13%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q15a. Overall, how would you rate your current principal? Supporting you as a teacher Excellent 60% 14% 66% 43%
Good 35% 27% 26% 30%
Only fair 4% 38% 7% 18%
Poor 1% 21% 1% 9%
Don’t know/Refused * - - *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q15b. Overall, how would you rate your current principal? Providing useful instructional feedback Excellent 40% 3% 45% 26%
Good 39% 29% 33% 34%
Only fair 17% 40% 21% 27%
Poor 4% 29% 2% 14%
Don’t know/Refused * - - *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q15c. Overall, how would you rate your current principal? Making decisions that improve your school Excellent 55% 8% 57% 37%
Good 33% 37% 33% 35%
Only fair 10% 34% 9% 19%
Poor 1% 20% 1% 9%
Don’t know/Refused * 1% - *
Q16 - Q20. Held for future release
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q21. Which comes closer to your view, even if neither is exactly right? (READ IN ORDER) Good teachers can lead all students to learn, even those from poor families or who have uninvolved parents 78% 66% 88% 75%
It is too hard even for good teachers to overcome these barriers 20% 34% 12% 24%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q22. How confident are you that most of your students will learn the skills and knowledge they were supposed to by the end of the year? (READ 1-4) Very confident 48% 33% 45% 42%
Somewhat confident 47% 55% 53% 52%
Not too confident 5% 9% 1% 6%
Not confident at all - 2% - 1
Don’t know/Refused * - - *
Q23. Held for future release
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q24. How would you complete this statement: This year, as a result of my instruction, the subject matter test scores of most of my students…(READ 1-4 IN ORDER) Increased a lot from the beginning of the yeart 44% 37% 50% 43%
Increased somewhat from the beginning of the year 50% 58% 47% 52%
Did not increase 2% 3% - 2%
Decreased somewhat - 1% 2% 1%
Don’t know/Refused 4% 1% 1% 2%
Q26a - Q26d. Held for future release
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q27a. For each pair of statements, please tell me which one comes closest to your view, even if neither is exactly right. The effort students make is mainly determined by the level of motivation they bring to the classroom 39% 48% 23% 39%
It is mainly determined by what teachers do to motivate them once they get there 59% 50% 75% 59%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q27b. For each pair of statements, please tell me which one comes closest to your view, even if neither is exactly right. I am usually able to differentiate my instruction for diverse learners 72% 69% 83% 73%
I am not able to do this as much as I would like because of the size of my classes 28% 31% 17% 26%
Don’t know/Refused * - * *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q27c. For each pair of statements, please tell me which one comes closest to your view, even if neither is exactly right. I am able to create high quality lesson plans 72% 52% 60% 61%
I am not able to do this as much as I would like because of limited planning time 28% 47% 38% 38%
Don’t know/Refused 1% 1% 2% 1%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q27d. For each pair of statements, please tell me which one comes closest to your view, even if neither is exactly right. I believe it’s very important to use test scores to monitor student progress 27% 25% 21% 25%
I think student test scores are less important than a lot of other measures 72% 75% 76% 74%
Don’t know/Refused * - 3% 1%
Q28. How effective do you think each of the following proposals would be in terms of improving teacher effectiveness?
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q28a. Requiring new teachers to spend much more time teaching in classrooms under the supervision of experienced teachers -- in terms of improving teacher effectiveness? Very effective 35% 40% 32% 36%
Somewhat effective 52% 47% 52% 50%
Not too effective 11% 11% 12% 11%
Not effective at all 2% 2% 3% 2%
Don’t know/Refused * - 1% *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q28b. Eliminating teacher tenure -- in terms of improving teacher effectiveness? Very effective 9% 8% 8% 9%
Somewhat effective 23% 25% 34% 26%
Not too effective 33% 29% 33% 32%
Not effective at all 34% 38% 25% 34%
Don’t know/Refused * * * *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q28c. Making it easier to terminate ineffective teachers -- in terms of improving teacher effectiveness? Very effective 37% 32% 33% 34%
Somewhat effective 44% 37% 48% 42%
Not too effective 15% 24% 15% 19%
Not effective at all 4% 6% 2% 4%
Don’t know/Refused 1% 1% 3% 1%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q28d. Requiring teachers to pass tough tests of their knowledge of the subjects they are teaching -- in terms of improving teacher effectiveness? Very effective 18% 15% 10% 15%
Somewhat effective 39% 40% 40% 40%
Not too effective 31% 28% 37% 31%
Not effective at all 12% 17% 13% 14%
Don’t know/Refused * - *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q28e. Increasing teacher salaries to levels similar to other professional jobs such as lawyers and doctors -- in terms of improving teacher effectiveness? Very effective 44% 56% 47% 49%
Somewhat effective 40% 35% 43% 39%
Not too effective 12% 7% 10% 10%
Not effective at all 3% 2% 1% 2%
Don’t know/Refused 1% - - *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q28f. Reducing class size by approximately 5 students -- in terms of improving teacher effectiveness? Very effective 60% 70% 69% 66%
Somewhat effective 34% 25% 25% 29%
Not too effective 3% 2% 4% 3%
Not effective at all 2% 2% 2% 2%
Don’t know/Refused * 1% * *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q28g. Improving professional development opportunities for teachers -- in terms of improving teacher effectiveness Very effective 47% 55% 52% 51%
Somewhat effective 47% 38% 41% 42%
Not too effective 5% 6% 6% 6%
Not effective at all 1% 1% * 1%
Don’t know/Refused * * * *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q28h. Preparing teachers to adapt or vary their instruction to meet the needs of a diverse classroom -- in terms of improving teacher effectiveness? Very effective 60% 58% 70% 61%
Somewhat effective 36% 37% 28% 35%
Not too effective 4% 3% * 3%
Not effective at all * 2% * 1%
Don’t know/Refused * 2% 1%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q28i. Ensuring that students who are severe discipline problems are removed from the classroom and placed in alternative programs more suited to them -- in terms of improving teacher effectiveness? Very effective 67% 76% 55% 68%
Somewhat effective 26% 21% 38% 27%
Not too effective 6% 2% 7% 5%
Not effective at all 1% * 1% *
Don’t know/Refused 1% 1% * 1%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q28j. Making sure that students in the classroom have roughly the same academic abilities -- in terms of improving teacher effectiveness? Very effective 17% 19% 15% 17%
Somewhat effective 42% 46% 36% 42%
Not too effective 31% 26% 39% 31%
Not effective at all 9% 8% 8% 8%
Don’t know/Refused 1% 1% 2% 1%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q28k. Ensuring that the latest technology is available in each classroom to aid instruction -- in terms of improving teacher effectiveness? Very effective 53% 54% 58% 55%
Somewhat effective 38% 37% 39% 38%
Not too effective 9% 8% 3% 7%
Not effective at all 1% 1% - 1%
Don’t know/Refused 1% - - *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Q28l. Tying teacher rewards to their students’ performance -- would be in terms of improving teacher effectiveness? Very effective 10% 6% 9% 8%
Somewhat effective 18% 24% 34% 24%
Not too effective 32% 26% 30% 29%
Not effective at all 39% 44% 27% 38%
Don’t know/Refused * * * *
Q29 - Q44. Held for future release
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Sex Male 26% 25% 25% 25%
Female 74% 75% 75% 75%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
Age Gen Y 1% 13% 52% 17%
Older 100% 87% 48% 83%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D3. Do you teach at…(READ) An elementary school 46% 53% 58% 51%
A middle or junior high school 17% 17% 18% 17%
A high school 31% 28% 17% 27%
Someplace else (SPECIFY) 5% 2% 7% 5%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D4. How many years have you been a teacher in the public schools? (READ) Less than 5 years 1% 2% 15% 5%
5 – 10 years 6% 19% 62% 24%
11 – 20 years 43% 41% 17% 36%
More than 20 years 51% 36% 6% 35%
Don’t know/Refused - 1% - *
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D4b. How many years have you been teaching at your current school? (READ) Less than 5 years 5% 14% 41% 17%
5 – 10 years 12% 29% 48% 27%
11 – 20 years 51% 41% 8% 37%
More than 20 years 30% 15% 3% 18%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D6. Have you received accreditation from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards? Yes 17% 19% 20% 18%
No 82% 80% 70% 79%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D7. In the past five years, have you ever received a financial bonus based on your individual performance? Yes 8% 10% 3% 8%
No 91% 90% 88% 90%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D8. Have you participated in any elective professional development programs like college courses, seminars, or conferences that provide you with additional certification? Yes 82% 89% 75% 83%
No 18% 11% 16% 14%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D10. Approximately what is your typical class size? Less than 15 10% 11% 10% 10%
15-24 56% 52% 54% 54%
25 or more 33% 35% 26% 32%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D11. In a typical class, about how many of your students would be classified as having special needs? Virtually all 11% 12% 11% 11%
Most 3% 9% 5% 6%
Some 41% 49% 32% 42%
Only a few 44% 29% 40% 37%
None of your students have special needs 1% 1% 3% 1%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D12. Approximately what percentage of students in your school are eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program 25% or under 30% 18% 17% 22%
26%-50% 34% 26% 26% 29%
51% or more 34% 54% 45% 45%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D13. What path did you follow to become a teacher? Receive an undergraduate degree in a 4-year college/university program, such as getting a major or minor in education 62% 59% 59% 60%
Take a 5th year at college or in a university to get a degree in education 11% 9% 11% 10%
Get a Master’s degree in education 21% 21% 15% 20%
Take an alternative certification path 4% 8% 5% 6%
Something else (SPECIFY) 1% 3% 1% 2%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D14. What is the LAST grade or class that you COMPLETED in school? High School diploma or equivalent/Less than a 4-year college degree * 3% 2% 2%
College graduate (B.S., B.A., or other 4-year degree) 19% 16% 21% 18%
Some post-graduate training or professional schooling after college (e.g., in Master’s or Ph.D program but no degree) 27% 36% 25% 30%
Masters, Ph.D or other higher degree 53% 45% 43% 48%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D15. In college, did you major or minor in the subject area in which you are teaching, or not? Yes 81% 83% 66% 79%
No 19% 17% 24% 19%
Don’t know/Refused - - 10% 2%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D16. Are you teaching any subjects that do not match your current certification or area of study? Yes 9% 6% 11% 9%
No 91% 94% 79% 89%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D17. Are you currently a tenured teacher, or not? Yes 88% 80% 56% 77%
No 3% 11% 31% 12%
Does not apply (VOL.) 9% 9% 4% 8%
Don’t know/Refused - - 9% 2%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D18. Thinking about the time you were in high school, would you characterize yourself as… An excellent student 39% 40% 30% 37%
A good student 48% 46% 50% 48%
A fair student 13% 13% 8% 12%
A poor student * 1% 3% 1%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
HISP/D20. Are you, yourself, of Hispanic or Latino background, such as Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or some other Spanish background? Yes 3% 5% 9% 5%
No 97% 93% 81% 92%
Don’t know/Refused - 1% 9% 3%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
RACE/D21. What is your race? Are you white, black, Asian, or some other race? White 93% 83% 78% 86%
Black or African-American 5% 8% 7% 7%
Asian * 3% 2% 2%
Other/Mixed race (SPECIFY) 1% 1% 2% 1%
Don’t know/Refused 1% 4% 11% 4%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D22. Are you married, LIVING as married, divorced, separated, widowed, or have you never been married? Married 79% 67% 70% 72%
Living as married 3% 2% * 2%
Divorced 8% 11% 3% 8%
Separated - 1% 2% 1%
Widowed 1% 1% - 1%
Never married/Single 7% 16% 15% 13%
Don’t know/Refused * 1% 10% 3%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D23. Including yourself, how many people are there living in your household? 1 14% 12% 11% 12%
2 29% 34% 30% 31%
3 22% 22% 27% 23%
4 23% 19% 15% 20%
5 8% 9% 7 8%
6 4% 3% * 3%
7 * * - *
Don’t know/Refused 1% 1% 9% 3%
Contented
(37%)
Disheartened
(40%)
Idealists
(23%)
Total
D24. How many of these people are children, under the age of 18? 0 51% 46% 40% 47%
1 22% 25% 34% 26%
2 16% 20% 19% 18%
3 6% 6% 7% 6%
4 3% 2% * 2%
Don’t know/Refused 1% 1% - 1%

 

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