Teachers are less satisfied

Teachers are less satisfied with their jobs, but parents are more engaged with their children’s schools, according to the new MetLife Survey of the American Teacher.

Teacher job satisfaction has fallen by 15 percentage points since 2009, the last time the MetLife survey queried teachers on this topic, from 59 percent to 44 percent responding they are very satisfied. This rapid decline in job satisfaction is coupled with a large increase in the number of teachers reporting that they are likely to leave teaching for another occupation (17 percent in 2009 vs. 29 percent today).


Not surprisingly, more teachers say their job is not secure. Two-thirds of teachers reported layoffs in their schools; three-quarters said there were budget cuts in the last year. Sixty-three percent said average class size has increased in their school.

Parent involvement has increased since it was first surveyed.  Sixty-four percent of students say they talk about things that happen at school with their parents every day, compared to 40 percent in 1988.

About Joanne


  1. Startling numbers, yet the Obama administration continues to turn its back on the real issues — instead focusing on more testing and accountability.

    When will our so-called leaders make changes that matter?

  2. bill eccleston says:

    On this score, considering the AFT leadership has just announced that they are endorsing Obama in the presidential election, I wonder what AFT rank and file feel about that.

    The big sea change in the teaching profession has been Arne Duncan and his policies. He, more than anyone else, is responsible for setting off a cultural and political war against teachers in this nation. At least that’s my thesis. (I’m a 25 year veteran teacher in Rhode Island, the state where Obama famously blamed the Central Falls High School debacle on the teachers instead of the incompetent state-appointed leadership of that school system.)

    I know in my case, a voter for Obama in ’08, I will be sitting out this election unless Duncan leaves. I’d vote for a Bluetick Coonhound before I’d vote four more years for Arne. I suspect that the rank and file of both unions is unhappy with their leadership on this issue. Just another instance of union leaders behaving exactly as that worst critics expect them to—taking actions that are inimical to the interests of their dues-paying membership for the sake of ingratiating themselves with whomever is in power at the Imperial Court on the Potomac..

    Randi Wiengarten, go jump in the lake!

    • bill eccleston says:

      Duhh… Change that “that worst critics expect them to” to “their worst…” etc.

  3. Ponderosa says:

    Bill, I’m disgusted with Duncan too, but do you really think a Republican administration would be any less foolish in its education policies?

    • SuperSub says:

      So, are you saying you’ll vote for someone even though you think their policies are foolish?

  4. Honestly, don’t we all feel a little less satisfied with our jobs when we don’t feel like we have a lot of other options? With the general economy so bleak, I think teachers feel kind of stuck, so rather than being in the psychologically healthier position of feeling like one can weigh one’s choices and move on if one is unhappy, one feels enslaved.

    I would personally expect to see similar stats in almost any occupation. If you’re the last person in the sales office at the widget factory doing the work of four previous employees while sales are down and wages frozen, you probably don’t love your job either.

  5. I’d say it’s safe to say that 97% of Americans feel pretty enslaved right now. There are NO other jobs out there for most people, if they lose the one they had when the global economy began to collapse in 2008 – which is most likely the one they’re stuck with right now, too.

  6. bill eccleston says:


    What’s not to like about abolishing the federal department of education, or—what is politically realistic—trimming its authority and overhauling its approach? The Republicans have pledged to go in this direction. NCLB, Bush’s program, at least allowed the states to set their own policies, and in Washington NCLB pumped substantial funding into real educational research. Race to the Top, instead, is a program where the Feds have taken direct control of the states policies and through that action, direct control of my classroom. Even my lesson plans, my administrators are bluntly telling me, will now be dictated by the untested, untried, nearly impenetrable language of the Common Core. Their view is that education has failed in this country because we teachers are inadequately supervised. So they are now imposing supervision. That’s the Race to the Top trade off. The feds will give millions to the states in return for requiring them to set up elaborate teacher supervision systems that depend heavily upon test performance. Thus the bureaucracies in Washington and the states are matastisizing. This is how shoe
    factories in the former Soviet Union were run. Its a game where only the bureaucracy wins.

    So yeah, absolutely. Just because Republicans have a lot of crazy ideas in other areas doesn’t mean they don’t get somethings right. On education, they are a much better choice than democrats. And I say that as someone who has never even considered voting for a Republican presidential candidate in my life. (And as I said, I won’t vote for one this year. I’m sitting out.)

    Look, I know what you mean, Ponderosa, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Desperate measures have certainly been taken against us.

    • Ponderosa says:


      But aren’t the Republicans eager to bust teachers unions and privatize education? Should a Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney get elected, I forsee vouchers and privatized charters proliferating, and schools becoming even more like 19th century sweatshops than they are now (“Tonight you must call one hundred parents, make six home visits, chaperone a dance and devise a new standards-linked Data Director test or you’re fired!”).

      The sweatshop –grueling, sped-up, non-stop, low pay work. This is becoming the fate of more and more Americans (see the expose of Amazon’s shipping centers in the recent issue of Mother Jones). Republicans, deep in their cold, Ayn Randian, Social Darwinist hearts, love this. You think Republicans are going to make our workplaces more humane and respectful of us workers?

      It seems to me that the problem with Duncan is that he’s TOO Republican in his thinking –too entranced by the prestige of the dictatorial corporate model. And too dumb to imagine anything else.

      • SuperSub says:

        If there’s one thing I have learner about our political parties is that they are equally influenced by the dictatorial corporate model.
        There are liberalist leaning candidates on both sides of the aisle, rather than making the Pavlonian Republican-hating reaction when its time to vote, do your duty as a citizen and fully research the candidates’ beliefs. The party affiliation votes are what have gotten us in this mess so far.

  7. Charles R. Williams says:

    I suppose the main issues are limited pay raises, staffing cuts, limited opportunities within the school system, impending pension cuts and limited opportunities in the broader economy.

  8. Ted Craig says:

    I wonder if increased paperwork isn’t as big an issue as pay.

  9. Welcome to the real world

  10. bill eccleston says:

    I agree with you, Ponderosa that the problem is that Duncan is a Republican of the radical corporatist stripe. There are two other elements in the Republican party, though, that are attractive to teachers. The old school limited-government penny pinchers who, while no friends of unions, yet believe that the federal government has either no role or a very limited role in education, leaving education up to the states. Its the modern radical corporatists who are aggressively busting unions. And our teachers unions richly deserve criticism for their failure to have foreseen and adapted positively to the new environment where the public, rightly, is demanding the end of Summerhill and the restoration of empirical results. The other newer strain in the Republican party are the libertarians. Note Ron Paul’s tripling of support this year. Yes, they would abolish public education, but in the current political ecology, they are a restraint upon the Obama-Duncan federal corporatist Republicans-in-Democrats-clothing usurpation of what forever in this country has been a function of state government. So they, too, are allies. Look, bottom line, we teachers need not be mad, we need to be fighting mad.

  11. bill eccleston says:

    Yes, Bandit, you are right. Teachers have now been sucked into the downward whirlpool of American economic decline, a decline that the obsolete political-economic thinking of both mainstream parties is helpless to ameliorate. If teachers, the are unhappy about this, they must act. You must act, too. The tree in Washington needs a vigorous shaking until all the rotten apples are culled, and that includes a number of former allies of our teachers unions.

    • SuperSub says:

      Heck if we as a citizenry want to send a message, we should vote out all incumbents. I mean, who will tell freshmen Representatives and Senators what to vote for without established party leadership? Oh wait, the voters. This is the kind of bloodless revolution our government was designed for…unfortunately our founding fathers failed to foresee the corruption of the public’s values and ignorance of the political process.

      • Mark Roulo says:

        This is the kind of bloodless revolution our government was designed for…unfortunately our founding fathers failed to foresee the corruption of the public’s values and ignorance of the political process.

        Actually, they did.

        The way things were set up 200+ years ago:

        (1) A lot of the decisions we now make at the federal level were made at the state or local level. You still had corruption, but the individual bits were smaller *and* it is much more feasible to leave a state than it is to leave the country.
        (2) To keep the feds from getting too powerful, the senators were *appointed* by the states. The senators then had a check on how much power they could pull up into Washington because they’d get fired the next time they were up for “election”.

        The 17th amendment did away with (2), and power has slowly been moving to the feds, making (1) less of an issue [you can, apparently, do almost anything at the federal level if you claim it is interstate commerce].

        Our founding fathers did design the system with corruption in mind. But, as a country, we’ve dismantled most of those safeguards.