Proof that Wisconsin admires its teachers

Teachers of Wisconsin: lift up your heads and be proud. A recent survey shows your reputations are secure and you are highly respected.

In fact, Wisconsinites hold you in approximately the same regard as doctors, military officers and police officers. You might be surprised to learn small business owner surpass all the aforementioned groups. Let’s cheer for them, too.

Because you’re all well-educated and, therefore, a little skeptical of surprising statements, the survey was commissioned by the Suzanne and Richard Pieper Family Foundation and conducted by the Dieringer Research Group Inc. (DRG). The results should alleviate any discouragement you have felt about your chosen profession in the last four years.

Every citizen in our state will acknowledge the recent tumultuous activity in many areas of government, education and environmental issues to mention a few. Great change creates great anxiety. However, in response to the question “Has your opinion of Wisconsin Public School Teachers changed over the past four years?” survey participants submitted the following:

  • 52.95 percent said they had the same regard for teachers as four years ago.
  • 16.20 percent said they have a somewhat greater regard.
  • 13.11 percent report a much greater regard.

Add those and you arrive at the powerful percentage 82.26 percent of survey takers have lost no faith in or improved their impressions of you.

Here’s why teachers are so well regarded. Responders to specific questions believe teaching is a challenging and important profession and that Wisconsin teachers are doing a good job. In relatively smaller percentages, many think you are underpaid and many think you deserve respect and need support. Respect for schools and teachers statewide ranks very similar to local schools and teachers. The survey takers were not educators rather a random mix of occupations, ages and both genders.

Is it possible to find an objective indicator of your work? Let us remind you and everyone in the state of Wisconsin students success stories reported in August of 2014. The ATC test indicates college readiness; the objective test is administered in all 50 states. Your/our Wisconsin students ranked second nationally on this test. Teachers must be doing something right. The ATC is as objective as anything ever gets. It is written and tallied out of state.

Are all Wisconsin teachers brilliant saints? Of course not. No profession is 100 percent composed of brilliant saints. Here at the beginning of another long school year-June seems so far away- you are faced with wiggly kids, distracted parents, meddling “experts,” limited resources and your own lives to live. We want to encourage you. Slightly unsavory topics always seem to get the most media attention and you may feel like you’ve heard a drumbeat of negative news about your profession. The Wisconsin Education Survey (2014) should help dispel that notion. Be proud of your work and your profession. The citizenry of Wisconsin does respect and believe in you.

The survey in its entirety is posted on the Suzanne and Richard Pieper Family Foundation website.

Richard Pieper Sr. is non-executive chairman of PPC Partners Inc. in Milwaukee and a proponent of the concept of Servant Leadership.

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