Students who strongly agree that their school is committed to building students' strengths and that they have a teacher who makes them excited about the future are almost 30 times as likely to be engaged learners as their peers who strongly disagree with both statements.* However, less than half of students strongly agree that they get to do what they do best every day, and nearly seven in 10 K-12 teachers are not engaged in their work.
These insights are from the State of America's Schools: The Path to Winning Again in Education report, which Gallup released this week. This new report cites data from numerous surveys, including the largest annual survey of fifth- to 12th-graders in the U.S. and Gallup's decades-long study of exceptional teachers and principals. It also provides educational leaders with advice on what they can do to improve engagement and student achievement in their schools.
Here are some key findings and insights from this must-read report for educational leaders:
- Just 33% of the more than 600,000 students who participated in the 2013 Gallup Student Poll scored highly on all three factors linked to success at school and beyond: hope, engagement, and well-being.
- Less than half of students strongly agree that they get to do what they do best every day, leading to boredom and frustration as their greatest talents go undeveloped.
- Within the first five years on the job, between 40% and 50% of teachers leave the profession. A lack of autonomy needed to effectively use their talents plays a significant role in teacher turnover rates.
- Teachers compare favorably to other U.S. workers in agreeing that they are able to do what they do best every day -- but they are last among 12 occupational groups studied when it comes to feeling their opinions count at work.
- Just 29% of Americans agree that the country's high school graduates are ready for college, and 17% say graduates are prepared to join the labor force.
- Many U.S. school districts struggle with a lack of adequate school board leadership; 37% of superintendents strongly agree that their districts are well-governed at the board level.
- Young adults who say they had frequent opportunities in their last year of school to develop real-world problem-solving skills are about twice as likely as those who disagree to report higher-quality work lives.