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NEA president says MetLife Survey of the American Teacher results should be a wake-up call

Educator dissatisfaction at an all-time high

WASHINGTON - February 21, 2013 -

– Teacher job satisfaction has plummeted to its lowest level in 25 years, from 62 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2012 – a total of 23 points, according to the annual Metlife Survey of the American Teacher, released today. Teachers reporting low levels of job satisfaction were more likely to be working in schools with shrinking budgets, few professional development opportunities, and little time allotted for teacher collaboration.

“This news is disappointing but sadly, there are no surprises in these survey results. Teacher job satisfaction will continue to free fall as long as school budgets are slashed,” said National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel. “Educators are doing everything they can to prepare their students to compete in the global economy, but the rug just keeps getting pulled out from under them.”

According to results of the annual survey, teacher stress levels have sharply increased, with half of teachers reporting that they feel like they are under great stress several days per week, as opposed to a third in 1985. Van Roekel said pressure on educators—including teachers, support staff and administrators—is at unprecedented levels and resources continue to be scarce.

“Classrooms are already crammed with students, programs and services are being cut, and teachers are entering pink slip season—all while further budget cuts loom as a result of fiscal cliff inaction,” Van Roekel said. The survey results come as the nation prepares for draconian cuts set to kick in on March 1. NEA members continue to warn against the potential impact of impending fiscal cliff cuts on public schools and the nation’s students.

“Of course educators are wringing their hands,” said Van Roekel. “We must find ways to raise teachers’ sense of personal fulfillment in their jobs through meaningful professional development, a sense of autonomy and professional responsibility, and most importantly, the ability to grow within the teaching profession if we are going to turn these numbers around.”

“Lawmakers must ask themselves, ‘how much longer can our schools continue to be drastically underfunded and understaffed without significant damage to the quality of the education our students are receiving?’ Educators work hard to give their students the great education they deserve, but the MetLife survey is compelling evidence that their resolve is wearing thin,” said Van Roekel.

This year’s survey examines teacher and principal views on the challenges facing school leaders (both principals and teacher leaders). Responses were collected during October and November 2012 via in-depth telephone surveys with approximately 1,000 teachers and 500 principals in K-12 public schools.

To view the entire MetLife survey, please go to

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson  (202) 822-7823,