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What teachers know vs. what education policymakers do

We heard a lot last month about the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher. It showed that teachers across the nation are demoralized and that their job satisfaction has dropped precipitously since 2009, says Diane Ravitch, education historian, for her Bridging Differences blog. The proportion thinking of leaving teaching has gone from 17 percent to 29 percent, a 70 percent increase in only two years. If this is accurate, it would mean the exit of one million teachers. I hope it is not true. What has happened in the past two years? Let’s see: Race to the Top promoted the idea that teachers should be evaluated by the test scores of their students; “Waiting for Superman” portrayed teachers as the singular cause of low student test scores; many states, including Wisconsin, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio have passed anti-teacher legislation, reducing or eliminating teachers’ rights to due process and their right to bargain collectively; the Obama administration insists that schools can be “turned around” by firing some or all of the staff…

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