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For example, academics often have equal or greater control than university administrators over the content of their teaching or research; the hiring of new colleagues; and, through the institution of peer review, the evaluation and promotion of members.They therefore have influence over the ongoing content and character of their profession.Data from my research show that although school principals and governing boards often have substantial control over many key decisions in schools, teachers usually do not.
In contrast, members of lower-status occupations usually have little say over their work.
The data show that, compared with people in traditional professions, teachers have limited power or control over key decisions that influence their work.
Since the seminal Nation at Risk report in 1983, a seemingly endless stream of studies, commissions, and national reports have targeted low teacher quality as one of the central problems facing schools.
Critics have blamed the performance of teachers for a myriad of societal ills: the erosion of U. economic competitiveness and productivity, the decline in student academic achievement, teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency and crime, the coarsening of our everyday discourse and culture, a decline in morals, gender and racial discrimination, and so on.
Mandatory elementary and secondary schooling in the United States places children in the care of teachers for a significant portion of their lives.
The quality of teachers and teaching is undoubtedly an important factor in shaping students' growth and learning.They typically have little influence over decisions concerning whether to promote particular students or hold them back.They usually have little input into hiring, firing, and budgetary decisions; the means and criteria by which they or the school administrators are evaluated; and the content of their own on-the-job development and inservice training programs.The predictable result, this view holds, is low-quality performance on the part of teachers and students.Underlying this perspective is the assumption that the primary source of the teacher-quality problem lies in deficits in teachers themselves—in their preparation, knowledge, commitment, engagement, effort, and ability.Over the past two decades, I have undertaken extensive research on power, control, and accountability in schools.My research involves analyses of a wide array of data: international data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, data from my own field interviews in schools, and national data. The Schools and Staffing Survey is the largest and most comprehensive source of information on teachers available.Power and Accountability in America's Schools, Harvard University Press, 2003.) Accountability in schools is reasonable and necessary; the public has a right and, indeed, an obligation to be concerned with teacher performance.And there is no question that some teachers perform poorly and are inadequate for the job.In addition, teachers generally have little input into schoolwide behavioral and disciplinary policies and rarely have the authority to have disruptive students removed from their classrooms, even temporarily.Likewise, teachers often have little say about what kind of ability grouping their school uses or about student placement in those groups.