Consider the following data from the newest edition of MetLife Survey of the American Teacher:

Only 42% of teachers believe that students feel responsible and accountable for their own education. [reminds me of the perception much of the general public and policymakers have about teachers]. Yet 96% of students surveyed believe they have responsibility to pay attention and do the work it takes to succeed.

Only half of students (53%) strongly agree that all of the teachers in their school want them to succeed, with fewer secondary school students than elementary school students holding this view (44% vs. 66%).

I take small comfort in the wording of that survey result – students don’t believe that all the teachers in their school want them to succeed.

Whatever most of us may be saying to students, the message they are getting is that we (teachers) really don’t think much of them or expect much from them. The data doesn’t parse out whether those views are consistent across race, geographic, gender, or other lines, but is it coincidental that this chasm between teachers and students appears to be growing as the student population becomes more diverse than the teacher corps?

Or, are we so distracted with test preparation and scores that we have failed to communicate to our students what really matters and how much they matter?

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