10,000 Teachers Share Views on the Teaching Profession in new "Primary Sources" Report

The average teacher workday is 10 Hours, 40 Minutes; 89% of teachers are satisfied in Their jobs
Teachers speak on testing, family engagement, and increased poverty in schools in survey by Scholastic & the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

New York — March 16, 2012 — Scholastic Inc. (NASDAQ: SCHL) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today released Primary Sources: America's Teachers on the Teaching Profession, the second landmark report presenting the results of a national survey of more than 10,000 public school teachers in grades pre-K to 12. The survey is a follow-up to the original Primary Sources report released in 2010, which continues to be noted as the largest-ever national survey of America's teachers.

The 2012 Primary Sources report reveals teachers' thoughtful, nuanced views on both their daily practice and critical issues at the heart of education reform – from teacher evaluations to quality curriculum, from the Common Core State Standards to standardized tests, from family engagement to strong school leaders, from the changing face of their classrooms to teacher tenure and salaries, from job satisfaction to future career plans.

Key findings reveal:

  • Challenges facing students are significant and growing: 46% of veteran teachers say they are seeing fewer students prepared for challenging work than when they began teaching in their current schools. 56% are seeing more students living in poverty, and 49% are seeing more students coming to school hungry.
  • Teachers welcome and are eager for more frequent evaluation of their practice from school leaders, peers and even students. Plus, they welcome feedback from a variety of sources.
  • Teachers are open to tenure reform: Eighty percent of teachers agree that tenure should be regularly reevaluated, and on average, teachers say that consideration for receiving tenure should happen after 5.4 years of teaching.
  • Teachers work an average of 10 hours, 40 minutes per workday, three hours and 20 minutes longer than the average required teacher workday nationwide.
  • Standardized tests do not reflect student skill: Only 45% of teachers say their students take these tests seriously and perform on them to the best of their ability.
  • Family involvement is the highest ranked factor for improving student achievement with 98% of teachers in agreement that it has a strong or very strong impact on student academic success. At the same time, 47% of veteran teachers report lower parental participation in their schools.
  • The majority of teachers are satisfied in their jobs: Eighty nine percent of teachers are either very satisfied (42%) or satisfied (47%) in their jobs and only 16% of teachers plan on leaving teaching. MetLife Foundation’s recent survey of 1,000 teachers had similar findings, however, their tracking data indicates that the percentage of "very satisfied" is lower than in previous years.


"This year’s Primary Sources report clearly reflects what it means to teach in America’s schools in 2012," says Cathlyn Dossetti, Teacher Advisor to Primary Sources and High School English teacher, Fresno High School, Fresno, CA. "It shows the mix of idealism and real concern that teachers feel on a daily basis as we face both the professional challenges and remarkable opportunities inherent in our careers."

The survey, which was conducted online in July 2011 by research firm Harrison Group takes a deep dive into the classroom and teaching profession in four key areas:

  1. ) Raising Student Achievement
  2. ) Measuring Learning and Teaching
  3. ) Tackling Challenges Facing America’s Students
  4. ) Keeping Good Teachers in the Classroom


"Primary Sources tells us teachers are clamoring for resources to help prepare their students to meet the Common Core State Standards. They want stronger curricula that relate to the real world, and they welcome accountability that's done thoughtfully and fairly," said Vicki L. Phillips, Director of Education, College Ready, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "When it comes to evaluations, teachers know what's good for students is good for them too-multiple measures of their performance and consistent feedback to help them improve."

Due to the size and scope of the study, Primary Sources allows for analysis of teachers’ views by grade taught, geography, income-level, years of experience and more. In addition, the questionnaire tracked teachers’ answers to several questions from the original Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on America’s Schools.

"Teachers know best what works in real classrooms to raise student achievement, so when we look for honest opinions on the state of America's schools, we go to them," said Margery Mayer, President of Scholastic Education. "At Scholastic, we work daily with teachers and we know that they have powerful ideas on how best to tackle the challenges facing our schools. Primary Sources helps to ensure that those ideas become part of the conversation on teaching and learning."

Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on the Teaching Profession is the continuation of an ongoing dialogue with America’s teachers. To download the full report and answer a subset of the survey questions, please visit www.scholastic.com/primarysources.


The findings of Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on the Teaching Profession are based on a national online survey conducted by Harrison Group among 10,212 PreK-12th grade public school classroom teachers. The survey was conducted between June 28th and July 13th 2011. The data were weighted to ensure alignment with their actual proportions in the population according to grade(s) taught, teacher gender, years of teaching experience and geography.

About Scholastic
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and services and children’s media. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs and school-based book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, television networks and the Company’s Internet Site, www.scholastic.com.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people–:especially those with the fewest resources–have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About Harrison Group

Harrison Group, a YouGov company, is a leading market research and strategy consulting firm headquartered in Waterbury, Connecticut. The company’s cornerstone is providing sophisticated strategy, analytics, and survey and forecasting services. Harrison Group consists of a cohesive team of researchers, analysts, field experts, focus group facilitators, content-area experts, brand specialists and multivariate statisticians who deliver definitive results for many of the world’s most demanding clients. www.harrisongroupinc.com.


Anne Sparkman

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Media Relations