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Idea of the Day: Teachers Have Not Been Stripped of Their Autonomy

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Over the past few years, there has been an ever-growing chorus of pundits who argue that teachers have grown to deeply dislike their jobs. They argue that teachers are unhappy with their lack of control and freedom. These pundits believe that discouraged educators have been fleeing the profession in droves.

Take, for instance, teacher and education blogger Vicki Davis who recently argued in TheWashington Post that many educators are leaving schools because of cookie-cutter approaches to teaching and learning. “Many U.S. teachers don’t even have the authority to upgrade their web browser or fix a printer,” Davis wrote. Or consider UCLA education management expert Samuel Culbert who wrote in a New York Times article last year that teachers need far more space to try new things. “If [teachers] are allowed to search for the best answers, they’ll find them.” And then there is Furman University education professor Paul Thomas, who argues that educators today are “teaching in a time of tyranny.”

But do teachers really lack autonomy and freedom? And more importantly: As a nation, have we reached the right balance of accountability and autonomy that is necessary for workplace innovation, career satisfaction, and overall results?

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To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund, women's issues)
202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention, the National Security Agency)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (energy and environment, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

 

This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

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