Above, principal investigator Brian Perkins
discusses a new climate survey released today at
the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education released a new survey today in which teachers and building administrators shared their candid thoughts about how they’re feeling about their school climate. While not always painting a rosy picture, the teachers and administrators are optimistic overall. The survey, “Where We Teach,” surveyed 12 urban districts in 10 states (Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, and Texas), representing 127 schools, 4700 teachers and 267 administrators.
Some of the major findings included:
- A significant number of teachers have low student expectations. Nearly a quarter of teachers surveyed agreed that most students at their school would not be successful at a community college or university. Only 7 percent of administrators, on the other hand, agreed with this statement. Likewise, nearly 29 percent of teachers agreed that students at their school are not motivated to learn, while nearly 16 percent of administrators agreed.
- Teachers and building administrators judge students differently. In another measure of student expectations, 77 percent of teachers agreed that students at their school are capable of high achievement on standardized exams, while nearly 95 percent of administrators agreed with the same statement.
- Student race still influences expectations and success. Over half of teachers disagree that students will be successful in their school based on race. However, three-quarters of teachers disagree that racial barriers to educational and economic opportunity no longer exist in the U.S.
- There is a disconnect between teacher and administrator perceptions around the issue of professional judgment. Eighty-six percent of administrators feel that teachers at their school exercise good professional judgment while only 76 percent of teachers believe that administrators at their school trust their judgment.
- A gap exists between teacher and administrator perceptions of parent involvement. While 81 percent of administrators agree that parents support their school and activities, only 57 percent of teachers agree with that perception.
- Safety perceptions about school also differ between teachers and administrators. While nearly 94 percent of administrators agree that their school is a safe place in which to work, only 82 percent of teachers agree with that statement.
Today’s report was released at a press event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. USA Today covered the report in today’s edition. Authored by Dr. Brian K. Perkins, CUBE’s steering committee chair and a school board president in New Haven, Conn., the report is a follow up to last year’s landmark report “Where We Learn,” a student-focused survey. NSBA partnered with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, National Association of Secondary School Principals, and National Association of Elementary School Principals to collaborate on the recommendations included in the report.
To view the complete report, click here. To view Perkins’ powerpoint presentation from the media event, click here. To download communciations guidelines to help school board members, superintendents, and school district communications directors talk with school staff, students, communities, and media about the survey report, click here.