New Metlife Survey out today, cue lots of handwriting. Go read it for yourself here (pdf) but here are four suggestions for while you’re doing so:
a) Don’t make it the only survey of this type you read, the SHRM employee survey, for instance, offers a look at some other fields (pdf). Some convergence and divergence.
b) Read beneath the headlines and canned statements. You wouldn’t know it from the coverage this morning but 82 percent of teachers say they’re “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their jobs. Only 17 percent say they’re somewhat or very dissatisfied (just 4 percent say “very”). The numbers are moving with “very satisfied” dropping 5 points since last year and we should pay attention to that, budget cuts are clearly causing some issues based on other responses, but the coverage of this report is unfortunately press release driven. 82 percent is nothing to sneeze at and a healthier field would be touting those numbers as a reason to come work in it rather than scaring people away. “Despite all the challenges four in five teachers like their work!” There is also some real nuance in there. For example, the job satisfaction number has some really interesting variance by experience level for principals and teachers. The leadership stuff is really interesting, check out the percent of teachers who want to become a principal. Bottom line: There is a lot of data in the report, most not reflected in the predictable statements and coverage.
c) Think critically about responses. For instance I don’t buy a lot of the Common Core data because respondents are reporting a level of familiarity that greatly diverges from what we know about the state of implementation efforts so far . That’s probably for a few reasons, people don’t like to tell pollsters they don’t know something they think they should and because many vendors are now saying everything is “Common Core aligned” (just as they used to say it’s “standards-based” in the old days) regardless of its quality there is a lot of confusion in the field.
d) We’re in the midst of a major disruptive pivot in education. Sector-wide change is rarely smooth and without costs. How should these data points be viewed in that larger context?