by Carl Azuz, CNN
(CNN) – A recently released survey indicates budgets aren’t the only thing on the downslide in the nation’s schools. According to the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, educators’ satisfaction with their jobs is plummeting.
Back in 1986, about 33 percent of the teachers surveyed said they were satisfied with their jobs in public schools. That marked a low point in the history of the survey. The number jumped to 40 percent a year later, and with some fluctuation, teacher satisfaction climbed to a high of 62 percent by 2008.
But like the economy itself, which has been a drag on schools since the recession hit, teacher satisfaction began to sputter in 2008. It had dropped three points to 59 percent by 2009. And the real freefall took place over the following two years, landing at 44 percent satisfaction by late 2011, when the most recent survey was taken.
Not surprisingly, as satisfaction decreased, desire to leave the profession increased. In 2009, 17 percent of teachers surveyed said they were likely to leave the profession in search of another career; in 2011, it was 29 percent.
By Carl Azuz, CNN
The Obama Administration recently called for school systems nationwide to replace textbooks with e-readers, like iPads, Kindles and Nooks. The government hopes that the tax dollars set aside for traditional textbooks will instead be used to purchase electronic devices – and that every American student will have an e-reader by 2017.
The U.S. Department of Education hails technology in the classroom as beneficial to everything from students’ motivation to their technical skills to collaboration among peers. Electronic editions of textbooks would, in theory, be easier to update. It wouldn’t take a new edition and printing to reflect Pluto’s loss of planetary status, for example; you’d just download the updated material.
But whether this is cost efficient depends on whom you ask (and what you buy). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a strong supporter of digital learning, says that America spends about $7 billion on textbooks every year, which works out to roughly $90 per student across all grade levels. An undiscounted iPad costs $499, and a Kindle Fire is priced at $199.
Assuming textbook companies agree to make their content digital, it could turn out to be significantly cheaper than hardcover books. Apple is planning some digital textbook offerings for $14.99 or less (after you’ve bought the iPad). But part of the value inherent in hardcovers is the fact that they last years. Would e-readers survive lockers, bus and bike rides, pep rallies and rain? And what happens if they’re broken or stolen – how many backups do you need?
Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks about the medical science behind concussions and how young athletes and coaches can handle and prevent them.
Programming note: Watch "Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports: Big Hits, Broken Dreams" Sunday, January 29 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET.
On CNN air: Carl Azuz talks to Gary Tuchman about the goals, shortcomings and impact of No Child Left Behind ten years after its signing.
Hazing on college campuses is widespread, and it's often not reported. CNN Student News Anchor Carl Azuz explains why.
Amid all of the challenges that American schools face, what are some of the things that are going right in the nation's education system? CNN's Carl Azuz explores the approaches that are working and can be implemented in other schools nationwide.