Teachers in this country are satisfied with their jobs, according to the Teaching and Learning International Survey (“Teachers Around the World Say They’re Satisfied With Their Jobs,” Education Week, Jun. 19). The only exception pertains to salaries that they say are too low.
Yet I say there is more to the issue. I don’t believe the high teacher turnover can be attributed solely to salaries. Teachers are faced with unprecedented demands that slowly undermine their morale. Pressure to boost standardized test scores, meet the needs of multicultural students and practice triage for impoverished students eventually cause them to quit.
If teaching were such a plum, then why don’t the best and the brightest college graduates make the classroom a lifetime career? Long summer vacations, guaranteed pensions and generous health benefits are not enough.
The latest evidence supporting this view is a study of teachers in the New York City system, the largest in the nation. An appalling 41 percent quit the classroom in the first five years. Something else besides salaries is going on because teachers in New York City are well paid and their pensions are totally free of state taxes.
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