Teacher Survey Comments #2
90% negative toward Educational Reforms
For further information about these comments see:
Teacher Survey Summaries on 20 Issues
Actual Survey Given to Teachers
(This is the second section of about 30 pages of Teacher Survey Comments that were written on the actual surveys. For the third section section of comments, follow the link at the end of this section.
Test, Test, Test, I am just like my students! Sick of them! Students don't try on these tests,
but teachers are held responsible. I love to teach and watch them learn. New ideas and
methods are good, but a lot of the old methods still work, too!
In the past year, our high school science department has written the state science standards
in the order in which each teacher teaches them. Then each of us had to redo the exact same
information (which was quite lengthy) on another form. Then, as department head, I had to
transfer the same information again to another form, and make copies of this thick packet for
each member of the department. In addition, at the beginning of school, we spent almost 2
computer days in C.O.E. meetings where we're unsure of what we even accomplished, not to
mention the resentment of having to push the government's paper work. Most of us felt we could be better served with almost any other type of training, not to mention learning to better serve our students through varied techniques, evaluation measures, and efficient classroom methods.
We (the teachers at my school) wonder how long our state department officials have actually
spent in the classroom, and how long it has been since they were there. Can they not perceive
how impractical their evaluation methods and standards are, and how the extensive paper work does not further advance student and teacher performance?
The government should reallocate the monies that pay the salaries and paper bills into a direct
fund to schools to reduce the teacher/student ratio, improve classroom space and educational
supplies, and increase the salaries of educators, to be more lucrative to future educators as
well as to hold on to the good teachers you've got. Thank you for your interest.
This survey has thoroughly and adequately listed all of my concerns for the Arkansas schools
and for the children of Arkansas. These issues and educational reforms are "dumbing down" our system. It's such a shame to put the innocent children's future at stake in changing our
education. There is not another teacher on earth who enjoys teaching children more than I do;
however, the paper load and unnecessary issues are hindering my performance as a superb
teacher. It's about time that the government, state department and etc. stop choosing curriculum and methods for the classroom teachers to use. Leave the teachers alone and he/she
will do an effective job! Thanks!
I would never go into teaching if the decision was to be made today. I tell my daughter not to--
to find a more rewarding, less stressful, more appreciative job with a higher pay scale. Ex:
SUN.com is starting salaries with no experience now with what I make with what I make with
MSE and 23 years experience with benefits. 28 years and out can not come soon enough.
ACTAP and Smart Start are a waste of money - for legislators who have nothing better to do
and no qualifications for that decision.
The survey was right on target!! I am glad to finally be asked my opinion!! Most of the teachers II work with are very confused about what Smart Start really is and what should be done! Only a few of our teachers were picked to attend the meetings that explained Smart Start. They did not come back and tell us what to do! They just handed us a lot of sheets and said, "Do these!" I have 3 huge notebooks of sheets and really don't know where to start. I would like to help make a difference. I will send you a separate note with my name. Thank you for caring enough to ask those of us that really know what is going on in the classroom! It is nice to know that someone out there really cares what teachers think! I have been teaching for 22 years and have seen a lot of useless programs come and go. We shouldn't get too involved in Smart Start.
In a few years it will be something else! Thanks for listening.
We need less government control and more from local school board. I believe the department
of education has integrated outcome based education into the governor's Smart Start initiative.
As a result, what we as teachers are seeing is a confused unworkable, illogical, wordy, gummed up mess. I am not a supporter of anything concerning outcome based education and what I
have seen of Smart Start is very confusing. So I can't say for sure if it's good or not. On one
hand-(a film I saw)- it sounded good. The performance assessments we were given do not
look good at all.
There are lots of good ideas in the ELLA program.
State standards need to be set in order to have a quality program. Lack of standards allow some schools to have very limited standards.
Teachers need the support of administrator! Parents need to realize the importance of education. Every child has the opportunity to learn, and we are there to help and teach. Our hands often get tied before we have the chance to teach and discipline. I often feel the one room school was more successful than our classrooms of today.
I feel testing standards are causing teachers to 'teach to the test' instead of teaching for
academics. State and government officials are handing down more activities for teachers to do in the classroom with an already full load of teaching the three R's. Teachers should be held
accountable for what they teach, but I don't fee testing is the best way to handle this.
If you don't have adequate parent support to discipline then no active learning takes place no matter what the frameworks are. Also, I believe ability grouping needs to be put in place again
because they want us to modify, modify, modify and teach to the low kids. That leaves the
middle & upper students to guide themselves.
This survey is the type designed to force results for a cause rather than honestly seeking
opinions. Since you have not stated what group you are associated with or how you plan to
use the results for your political uses I decline to be a party to such a sham.
What do teachers consider to be the major problem? Lack of parental support and parental
emphasis on education.
We have so many responsibilities and so much is expected of us we should be paid lots more.
I love my job and the 28 kids in my class, but I feel we do so much for so little.
COE staff development is of little value in improving student achievement and is an ineffective use of teacher's time, and a ridiculous waste of money.
We sill never improve academics for a child until the parents become involved in supporting the teachers, making sure the child does his/her work, quits blaming teachers, and quit taking the side of the student, etc.
I teach my heart out. I plan fun lessons that should create motivation - I do whatever I can - but until a child wants to learn - he/she will not and a child will not choose to learn if the parents let them slide by w/o giving them the needed support.
I'm sick and tired of reading negative articles about the D-work we do when my students raised their language arts test scores (what I teach) by 12 percentile points.
Let's find the teachers who are not teaching and move 'em out
Thank you for taking the time to produce a survey like this. I appreciate your efforts and hope
100% of students being on grade level according to ACTAP is unrealistic & will continue to b
until student retainment becomes mandatory if the student is not competent in skills of current
grade. Teachers will not be able to go back and reteach skills that should have already been
learned (review yes - reteach no) if they are to realistically provide students with skills for current grade. I work with 4th graders with low reading skills. Most are reading on 2nd grade level. There is no way they can catch up to grade level in one year.
Special education is too lenient for the student; it promotes laziness.
Arkansas needs to look at other states such as Tennessee & shortened special education
paperwork. There is a lot of unnecessary paperwork & information in the IEP and other documents think students should be required to pass a standardized test to receive a regular H.S. diploma (including resource students -just meeting IEP goals is not enough to say they receive the same education as a regular Ed student).
I just recently moved here & don't feel comfortable answering some of these due to lack of
knowledge about Arkansas Ed. System.
I feel my children are suffering due to new educe. reforms.
We are dumbing down education to satisfy the Federal Government.
An accountability system that rewards individual teachers of schools for improved test scores
will have more negative consequences than positive - We spend weeks preparing for tests
instead of teaching.
Money spent on new and/or national certification will not increase the teacher's ability to improve quality of education and will be an ineffective use of scarce funds. Spend the money on books
and supplies for our classrooms.
I truly hope this survey could possibly help in some way. We have been told that if this reform
doesn't work it is our fault (the teachers) because we didn't want it to work!
No one listens to us or will let us vent our frustrations about problems we are faced with in the
classroom. We need more money for our classrooms & fewer students in our classrooms as
well. Our better teachers are retiring early or looking for different jobs.
Teachers salaries are very low for teachers to be professionals. We are expected to dress and
supply everything for our classroom. A board member just recently told us we weren't
professionals like doctors and lawyers. I have a total of $300.00 per year for teaching supplies. I spend a lot of my own money. This is not right or appreciated by anyone. More money needs o go to salaries and supplies.
The state wants teachers to teach to these new programs, example ELLA. But, no money is
given to teachers to implement these new programs. Teach with no materials!
Administrators in our school district get raises but, teachers don't get there share. If government wants to tell us what to teach, they should go back to percentage money districts get, go to
teacher's salaries. Teachers have a lot of responsibility! I think it's time they were paid for college hours and teaching.
We need smaller schools and less pressure from the state. What happened to the good old
days when teachers were respected more and allowed simply to do their jobs?
We need elementary schools in separate locations rather than with the high school. Just let
teachers do their jobs and stop wasting time & many on extra fluff.
We are being coerced to "teach the test".
The quality of education isn't the problem; the amount of time we are allowed to teach is the
problem. To many "extra" things stuffed into the day.
We have too much testing and not enough teaching.
Smaller size classrooms would help. I have 24 students in 1st grade.
The money to reduce class size was not used in 1st grade at our school because "they" said
there were no empty classrooms.
Why test (SAT - 9) 1st graders? I feel it is a waste of my teaching time.
Has the state department of education ever done anything to help me be a better teacher? No.
Has the state department of education been of real value to teachers in any way? No.
When the department of education sends something "down" to the teachers, it usually means
extra time taken away from my students.
Let the teachers do their job, teach!
Eliminate the paper work!
The state department of education, state government, and federal government need to be shut
down - local control is best.
Parents must be educated and informed of Outcome Based Education (OBE)! OBE is a
deliberate "dumbing down" of our students.
The government creates problems so they can come in with "their" solutions!!! This is serious!!! We will lose our Sovereignty as the schools in our nation yields to the authority of the "New
In our building, we have as many as 15 or 20 teachers gone at one time for training. This has
happened so many times this year. The students are suffering from this nonsense!!! Only we,
the people, parents, and other concerned people, can stop this once and for all.
Thanks for this survey and all of the endeavors of your trying to do something for our children
and our schools.
The education system is taking good, effective classroom techniques and materials and simply
discarding them. There are good programs available that offer teachers materials to pick and
choose what is most effective for their students. Work and methods used by classroom
teachers is being given no consideration, just assumed it is not happening. Or whatever the
methods are, or their effects, they are WRONG! No specifics, no reasoning, just WRONG!
Every teacher can look at her kids and know what they're getting and what they are not and
monitor and adjust accordingly. Programs like Smart Start and Reading Recovery seek to tear
out good programs that are in place and do a mass remediation that is unnecessary for most
Bottom line--These programs are going to cost education good caring teachers who need to be in the classroom.
As a classroom teacher with seventeen years experience, I am very concerned with the reforms and initiatives that are taking place and the effect they will have on our future and the future of
our children. These reforms are taking good, effective classroom techniques and materials and
simply discarding them. Classroom teacher input is being replaced by initiatives and reforms
led by teachers who have never been in the regular classrooms. The cost of these programs
is going to be massive-- and most importantly in ways that can not be measured monetarily.
In classrooms across Arkansas, we are extremely fortunate to have teachers who are able to
put good, effective programs in place in their classrooms. These programs cannot be the same
for each of us, because our children are not the same. Locations, socioeconomic conditions,
personal condition all serve to be significant influences on our children's learning. Teachers
have so many good ideas and materials available to them; they are able to pick and choose
aspects of programs that will benefit their children. They change these programs year to year,
modifying them to meet the needs of each year's class. They are able to pick and choose what
is most effective and usable for them. Because of the new reforms, teachers are being told what they will and will not do in their classrooms. It doesn't matter how well the students have done
after being in that class, or how poorly, teachers are being told to throw out the whole program.
Don't use anything you know, do what we have told you. Anyone who has been in the class-
room will tell you that no one program has all the answers, but the teachers who have never
been there sure don't! None of us have a perfect program, but we are able to supplement and
streamline as needed--but no longer! Now, we are told that no matter what we are doing, it is
wrong and we must do it another way, a way we discarded fifteen years ago because it no
longer worked with our students.
No one is listening to the classroom teacher. I am so tired of being told I am in my comfort
zone and refuse to change anything. Better my comfort zone than to hide my head under a
rock and pretend I don't know what these programs are costing these children. Classroom
teachers are no longer asked what they are doing or if they have any input as to how to help a
problem. People with less or no experience are dictating answers to these problems. The
classroom teacher is expected to screen and practice speech therapy, resource, self-contained,
behavior problems, and home problems with no training in these areas, but she can't possibly
know what she's doing in the areas where she has had training. There is no rhyme or
reason to some of these directives and comments.
If programs like Smart Start and Reading Recovery are allowed to rule our schools, we will
be doing a mass remediation of students. There is no reason for this. Students of today are
some of the brightest, sharpest, children I have ever seen. They have the potential to do things
that were never dreamed of when we were children. They will see things in their lifetime that
we didn't know enough to dream about. They are also a group of young people who are unable t achieve self-directed learning. There are so many avenues open to them that they are unable to choose one single way. We, as teachers, must be available to these students to provide
direction and support so they can achieve all these things. They're just children. If programs
like these continue, the frustration of good, caring classroom teachers will cause them to seek
other avenues of employment that take them out of the classroom where they need to be. When this happens, it will be our children who suffer.
I pray for these children every day, and for the strength and ability to do what is best for them.
I pray that the people who are instigating these things will see through what they are doing and
allow us to take care of our children.
If a teacher is adequately educated, dedicated and concerned about the welfare and education
of each student, then none of the above problems would exist--providing that he/she be support-Ed emotionally and financially by the administration, school board, community, and state.
Lack of appreciation and reward have made this job totally unacceptable to many except that
we have six or seven weeks off in the summer. What a shame!! Make it worthwhile, and make it attractive. Then the rest will take care of itself. That's called competition! Make it a privilege,
not a drudgery.
The most effective educational system can be achieved through cooperation between the
parents and the teacher. In eleventh and twelfth grades, which I teach, it is still true that my
BEST students and my students who IMPROVE the most are students whose parents are
involved in their education. The importance of education is stressed at home, and education is
made a PRIORITY-- not some peripheral social mandatory activity.
As a teacher in her 28th year, I am most concerned with a trend I've endured all these years:
research and policy in education are implemented for a few years--sometimes only two or three. Usually, we never truly determine the impact before we switch to a NEW program! We never
achieve anything of note except large expenditures of time, money, and energy. We SPIN OUR WHEELS! This is the biggest complaint I hear from young teachers with 5 to 10 years
I often hear from former students how much I have helped them. One of the most frustrating
aspects of teaching is that it is strictly a team activity. I never know whether I really help--or if
some other teacher years earlier prepared the way--or if the student just FINALLY "got it"
and became motivated!!
Some parts of the new guidelines are good, but overall, we need to get back to teachers
teaching without so many pullouts. Teachers basically have about three hours per day for
actual teaching. Do the legislators really feel so ignorant that they want to change everything? You know, they were educated with the old curriculum. If a child wants to succeed, he/she will! empower the teachers and reward the creative ones!
Go back to minimum performance skills and allow teachers to choose the curriculum and
the methodology to deliver the skills.
Pass legislation that requires the State Legislature to repeal two existing laws regarding
education for every new law they pass. Give teaching and curriculum back to the local schools.
I don't fell that the SAT-9 and ACTAP tests show a true reflection of a child's academic
capabilities. For example, the reading comprehension section of the SAT-9 requires the
students (9 to 10 year olds) to read and answer questions for 50 minutes. Most adults won't
read and answer questions for 50 minutes, yet 4th graders are expected to. It should be
divided into two sections of 25 minutes each.
We teach our hearts out and do everything that is required to prepare our students for these
tests, but the students may still not do well. They know the information, but they don't do well
on standardized tests. Many other circumstances factor in to a student's success on the test
besides their academic skills. For example, I had a student get punished at the home in which
he was staying on the morning of the SAT-9 test. He couldn't concentrate and barely answered any questions. I encouraged him to continue working, but his mind was on other things. He
knew how to work and answer the questions. He was quite capable of doing well! It's frustrating that so much emphasis is placed on 2 tests instead of other more important aspects of the
academics of our schools.
It is frustrating and discouraging that we, the teachers, are deemed successful or not depending on our students' scores on the tests.
There is so much emphasis put on these tests that I'm not sure if I should continue teaching
the curriculum in all of the subjects, or if I should put away the books and just teach the tests!
I will not encourage anyone to enter this profession. We are becoming robots--told what to do
with little choice of individuality! Our success and failure is based on 2 tests! That isn't fair to the hard-working, professional people teaching in the schools. We deserve better than that! HELP!
We love the kids! We love our jobs!
Too much emphasis is placed on SAT-9 scores and don't reflect an individuals true abilities.
Other factors need to be put in place with these tests that will show each individuals skills and
abilities. "A" students may fail the SAT-9 but be a good student whereas those students who
are low may score well on these tests and fall through the cracks.
I think your choices should be broadened to 3: A B or C. Most are A, "I think it's great," or B "I
hate it." There is a middle ground and we should look for it.
Teachers would like to establish the standards instead of being told what they should be.
State department wants text books aligned to frameworks, then do it themselves or design a
book and have all of Arkansas use it and let us TEACH instead of doing their busy paperwork!
For Third Section of Comments