A new survey finds discouragement among American teachers at an all-time high. According to the “MetLife Survey of the American Teacher,” released Wednesday, disaffection from the teaching profession is being driven by budget-cutting and lack of job security in the public schools.
Over 50 percent of teachers said that they had reservations about their jobs, the highest level recorded in the survey since 1989. Job satisfaction has plummeted by 15 percentage points since 2009, the first year of the Obama administration. Fully one third said they would probably leave their field within the next five years, up from one quarter only three years ago.
The California State Capitol Building in Sacramento was the scene of a series of demonstrations Monday against further tuition fee hikes, budget cuts and privatization at the state’s public universities. The peaceful student demonstrators were met with a large police presence of several hundred officers in full riot gear from the California Highway Patrol, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and the Sacramento City Police Department.
Some 76 protesters were arrested for refusing to leave the capitol building after it closed at 6 pm. They were later released.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Labor government last month rejected a call by its own inquiry into school funding for a $5 billion annual increase in education spending to address the gross inequality in Australia’s school system.
Gillard said the report provided “great insight,” but she refused to commit any extra funds. Education minister Peter Garrett commented: “We’ve always said that we’re going to bring the budget back in to surplus [and] I think that’s the most important thing that we can do at this point in time.”
Even the limited 15 percent increase in funding recommended by the report is anathema to the Labor government. Its overwhelming priority is to satisfy the demands of the financial markets for the elimination of the budget deficit produced by the bailout packages during the first phase of the global financial crisis.