Do Teachers Have a Voice at Your Christian School?

Posted on Friday, December 21st, 2018

How much influence do teachers have at your Christian school? The answer to that question likely depends on whom you ask.

According to a recent study by Rand Corporation, a large discrepancy exists between teacher and principal perceptions of teacher influence. Rand’s American Educator Panel surveys reported that while 96% of principals surveyed felt that teachers were involved in making important school decisions, only 58% of teachers felt the same way. Similarly, 98% of school leaders agreed strongly that their teachers had informal opportunities to influence school decisions, while only 62% of teachers shared the same thoughts.

While the gap in those numbers is wide, the most alarming difference in the survey involved teachers’ willingness to raise concerns to their administration. In fact, nearly a third of all teachers (31%) said they were not comfortable voicing concerns in their schools, while 97% of school leaders assumed teachers were open to discussions.

The study hypothesized three main reasons for the disconnect:
1) Different philosophies on how much teacher influence is sufficient
2) Different definitions of what constitutes an “important” decision
3) Principals are only receiving positive responses from staff

Regardless of the reasons, the study encourages all school leaders to have honest conversations with their teachers.

“We encourage school leaders to critically examine the leadership opportunities they believe they are providing for their teachers and establish systems and structures that foster regular dialogue about important school decisions,” the study concludes. “School leaders also should explore ways to foster a culture of trust among school staff and leadership, so that teachers feel comfortable expressing concerns.”

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