February 6, 2019

Educators for Excellence Reacts to State of Union Address

Feb. 6 (New York City) — Educators for Excellence (E4E), a teacher-led organization, expressed their disappointment that the education issues teachers care about most were absent from President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union Address.

“It is frustrating that President Trump’s vision for America continues to neglect the needs of our students and educators,” said Sydney Morris, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of E4E. “This indifference is why only six percent of teachers believe that their perspective is greatly represented at the federal level. Last year saw unprecedented teacher activism, and there are no signs of slowing down. Teachers across the country are deeply concerned about school safety, inequities for students and stagnant wages. They will be tireless advocates when it comes to their students’ needs, including speaking up and working with the government to ensure education is a priority.”

Voices from the Classroom: A Survey of America’s Educators, released Aug. 1, 2018, captures the policy preferences of public school educators across the country on a wide variety of issues impacting their students and profession.

Key findings: 

Teachers are very concerned about their economic security, so wages, salaries, benefits and job security are top of mind. A majority of teachers believe financial incentives, such as sign-on bonuses, higher starting salaries and loan forgiveness programs, are the most effective means to recruit talented and diverse teachers, especially in hard-to-staff schools (48 percent) and hard-to-staff subjects (46 percent).
Teachers are seeking more opportunities to lead while staying in the classroom, particularly as they relate to career pathways. A staggering 92 percent of teachers say they wish there were more opportunities to further their careers and professional skills while staying in the classroom.
Teachers want more opportunity to be heard beyond their classroom and within their unions in order to shape policy at all levels. No other question in the survey garnered a more unanimous response than the 96 percent of teachers who agreed that they wish there were more opportunities as teachers to influence education policy that impacts their profession and students.
Teachers are concerned about school safety and want more training to address school violence and improve student behavior using non-punitive strategies. Nearly one out of three teachers (31 percent) report fearing for their own physical safety at least sometimes or often at their school.
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 (74 percent), but they also want measures of school climate and culture to be considered, such as disciplinary data (41 percent), as well as feedback from students (30 percent) and parents (25 percent).
Teachers are open to school choice options, as long as they do not drain resources from public schools, are equally accessible to all students and provide positive outcomes for low-income students. Less than one-third of teachers support universal school vouchers (21 percent), low-income school vouchers (28 percent), or charter schools (31 percent), while 48 percent support school tax credits for low-income students.​

To download the complete report, visit e4e.org/teachersurvey.