February 25, 2009
Statement by Randi Weingarten, President,
American Federation of Teachers,
On 2008 ‘MetLife Survey of the American Teacher'
Today, MetLife released its annual survey of teachers' opinions. This year's report is titled "MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Past, Present and Future."
WASHINGTON—This year's "Survey of the American Teacher" gives us much to celebrate with respect to how teachers feel about the future of their profession. An overwhelming majority (98 percent) of teachers love to teach. Most educators feel positive about their careers; their schools; the level of support from colleagues; their relationships with parents; and, most important, their students. The AFT always has worked to ensure teachers are respected and appreciated as professionals. The MetLife survey shows that good progress has been made in this regard.
There is still much work to do toward improving education for all students. As the survey points out, teachers in our urban school districts are still far less likely than other teachers to report adequate classroom resources, high-quality academic standards, strong student discipline policies and sufficient parental involvement. These findings reinforce our most recent call for national standards (Feb. 16, in the Washington Post). To improve schools and help students reach those standards, we also must be committed to providing teachers and kids with the supports, and teaching and learning conditions, that are necessary, including a core curriculum, properly aligned assessments, job-embedded professional development, and a safe and orderly environment.
While the good news reported in the survey is heartening, the continuing disparity in education quality between urban schools and their suburban counterparts should give us pause. We once again thank MetLife for this snapshot of our nation's educators, and for providing another compelling argument for reinvesting in public education.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.