August 1, 2018

Educators for Excellence Releases Nationwide Survey of Teachers on Education Issues

Aug. 1 (New York City) — Educators for Excellence (E4E), a teacher-led organization, released results today from Voices from the Classroom: A Survey of America’s Educators, a ground-breaking national survey of our country’s public school educators. An oversample of New York City (NYC) teachers were surveyed to enable deeper, city-level analysis.
Designed by teachers, for teachers, the scientific, nationally representative survey captures crucial insight on the views of public school educators across the country on a wide variety of issues impacting students and the profession, including: economic security, teacher leadership, teacher voice beyond the classroom, school safety and discipline, accountability and school choice. 
“Teachers are the ones living out the consequences of education policy,” said Cameron Maxwell, middle school English teacher at Public School 7/Global Tech Prep and member of E4E-New York. “We know the changes that need to made to improve our schools and help students succeed.”
“Far too often decision-makers create education policies without meaningful input from teachers, and frequently these decisions directly conflict with teachers’ priorities,” said Evan Stone, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of E4E. “As the country continues to grapple with how to close opportunity gaps, prepare students for a changing workforce and adjust to a shifting political landscape, our hope is that researchers, administrators and decision-makers can use these results to include teacher perspective in their future decisions and do what’s best for educators and their students.”
Key Findings:

  • Teachers are very concerned about their economic security, so wages, salaries, benefits and job security are top of mind.
    • In NYC and nationally, a majority of teachers believe financial incentives, such as sign-on bonuses, higher starting salaries and loan forgiveness programs, are an effective means to recruit talented and diverse teachers, especially in hard-to-staff schools (36 percent NYC, 48 percent national) and hard-to-staff subjects (36 percent NYC, 46 percent national).
    • NYC teachers also prioritize making it easier to leave and return to the profession without losing benefits or seniority (42 percent NYC, 36 percent national).
    • NYC teachers have more faith in the traditional pension system than teachers nationally, with 64 percent of NYC teachers saying they would prefer a pension and 33 percent saying they would prefer a defined contribution plan, such as a 401-k or 403-b.
      • Nationally, nearly as many teachers say they would prefer a defined contribution plan (42 percent) as they would a pension (45 percent).
  • ​And, a substantial majority of NYC teachers believe inequitable school funding (84 percent) and resource distribution (88 percent) are problems in their state, as do 84 percent and 81 percent nationally.
  • Teachers are seeking more opportunities to lead while staying in the classroom, particularly as they relate to career pathways.
    • A staggering 93 percent of NYC teachers and 92 percent of teachers nationally say they wish there were more opportunities to further their careers and professional skills while staying in the classroom.
    • Despite this widespread desire, only four in 10 NYC teachers (39 percent) indicate that they feel supported by their administration to take on leadership in their schools, compared to 35 percent nationally.
  • Teachers want more opportunity to be heard beyond their classroom and within their unions in order to shape policy at all levels.
    • Ninety-four percent of NYC teachers and 96 percent of teachers nationally agree that they wish there were more opportunities as teachers to influence education policy that impacts their profession and students.
    • Unfortunately, teachers do not feel their perspective is well represented in policy decisions at the school, union, district or charter network, state or federal levels. The further teachers are from the decision-making body, the less represented they feel, with 26 percent of NYC teachers saying they see their perspective greatly represented in policy at the state level.
  • Teachers are concerned about school safety and want more training to address school violence and improve student behavior using non-punitive strategies.
    • Nearly four in 10 NYC teachers (37 percent) report fearing for their own physical safety at least sometimes or often at their school, 6 percentage points above the national average.
    • More than two-thirds of NYC teachers (70 percent) believe their school does an excellent or good job at training them to address school violence, compared to 54 percent nationally.
    • To manage discipline and make schools safer, NYC teachers believe positive behavior reinforcement (81 percent) and restorative practices (75 percent) most effective, greatly preferring them to punitive and exclusionary measures, such as out-of school suspensions (55 percent) and expulsions (54 percent).
      • Nationally, teachers agree that positive behavior reinforcement (74 percent) and restorative practices (64 percent) are most effective, though NYC teachers are more likely than the national average to believe out-of school suspensions (39 percent nationally) and expulsions (39 percent nationally) are effective.
  • While the National Rifle Association and President Trump have proposed training teachers to carry guns in schools as a way of making schools more secure, 60 percent of NYC teachers oppose this idea, as do 65 percent of teachers nationally.
  • Teachers believe student growth is the single most important factor in evaluating schools’ and teachers’ effectiveness, but are interested in exploring non-traditional metrics.
    • To evaluate a school’s effectiveness, teachers prefer students’ academic growth (64 percent NYC, 74 national), but they also want measures of school climate and culture to be considered, such as disciplinary data (35 percent NYC, 41 percent national), as well as feedback from parents (41 percent NYC, 25 percent national), and feedback from students (34 percent NYC, 30 percent national).
    • In evaluations of their own effectiveness, in addition to students’ academic growth (51 percent NYC, 64 national), teachers value students’ daily work, projects and portfolios (56 percent NYC, 45 percent national).
  • Teachers are open to school choice options, as long as they are equally accessible to all students and don’t discriminate against students.
    • NYC teachers are more supportive of school choice options than the national average:
      • 67 percent of NYC teachers and 48 percent of teachers nationally support school tax credits for low-income students.
      • 65 percent of NYC teachers and 28 percent nationally support low-income school vouchers.
      • 54 percent of NYC teachers and 31 percent of teachers nationally support charter schools.
      • 49 percent of NYC teachers and 21 percent of teachers nationally support universal school vouchers.
    • A majority of New York teachers and all public school teachers support school choice as long as it:
      • Is equally accessible to all students: 54 percent New York, 64 percent national
      • Doesn’t discriminate against students: 50 percent New York, 58 percent national
    • And, only nine percent of New York teachers and six percent of teachers nationally are opposed to school choice in any form. 

The full report provides details on each of these trends and includes an analysis of the responses from three groups of teachers because of their unique perspectives: early career educators, teachers in underserved communities and teachers of color.
To download the complete report, visit
Survey Methodology: 
The survey was conducted online from April 14-May 6, 2018, among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 full-time traditional public school and public charter school teachers and an additional sample of 102 New York teachers. The survey questionnaire was developed in consultation with E4E member teachers from across the U.S. The survey instrument was written and administered by Gotham Research Group, an independent, New York-based research firm.