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Survey: 1 in 3 teachers would leave for higher pay

August 22, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — One in three Tennessee teachers say they would leave the profession if they could get a higher paying job, while some administrators say their job isn’t worth the stress and disappointment.

The answers are part of the annual Tennessee Educator Survey, which was released this week.

“I’ve personally reviewed the comments that were submitted, and we are already using this feedback to drive decisions at the department,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn in a statement. “The increase in response rate from educators on the front lines is critical to helping the department develop and deliver better products and services for educators and students across the state.”

Other highlights of the survey included that 94% of teachers feel safe at their schools and a similar amount disagreed that students at their school were often threatened or bullied. Nearly 90% of teachers said they felt prepared for any type of emergency situation at their school.

Overall, most administrators surveyed said they planned to work in public education until retirement and most planned on remaining in school leadership as long as they were able, but 13% also said the stress and disappointments involved in serving as an administrator weren’t worth it.

Meanwhile, seven in 10 teachers said more than three hours of weekly individual planning time was sufficient, while 63% said the state’s standardized exams was not worth their time and effort.

The survey did not specify which issues teachers struggled with regarding the standardized exams.

However, 92% of the teachers agreed they were able to raise issues with their school’s leadership and also agreed the current teacher evaluation system help improved both improved their teaching and student learning.

The survey was conducted by the Tennessee Department of Education and Vanderbilt University’s Tennessee Education Research Alliance. More than 45,000 educators — or about 62% of the state’s teachers — were surveyed between March 5 and April 19. Results were weighted to represent Tennessee’s urban and rural teacher population.

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This story has been corrected to show that one in three teachers would leave for higher pay, not the majority.

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