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PACE's 2012 Educator Survey Results
posted by: Tim | March 29, 2012, 04:55 PM   

The past few years have seen unprecedented education reform as teachers statewide have questioned and debated policies that affect them in the classroom. While new and innovative ideas are progressing, an authentic teacher voice is critical to establishing a system that works for students and teachers alike. PACE strives to fill this need here in Colorado asking questions of our members directly to better understand the view from the classroom. It is PACE’s belief that the input from our well-informed and experienced membership base will be of value to policy makers and the broader community.

Among the topics explored in this membership survey are some of the most pressing issues facing the state-local control, pensions, literacy, and transparency. While educators approach these new ideas with caution, overall PACE members support commonsense reforms that put students first and respect the profession.

Local Funding

Colorado teachers value tracking students for the purposes of accurate funding calculations. Survey respondents overwhelmingly favor (69%) multiple count dates to adjust disbursing funds at multiple times throughout the year. Only 8% believe a single October count day is the best method for calculating funds.

Pension Portability

In the wake of budget shortfalls, sustainability questions, as well as a trend with the rising generation to move in and out of a variety of careers, Colorado teachers are warming to the idea of portable plans that break away from the classic pension model. A clear majority (89%) of educators agree with giving teachers a portable pension option, which would allow teachers to invest their district/employer contribution into a personal 401(k) that can be used upon retirement, or taken with them to another job - in or out of state.

K-3 Literacy

A recent University of Chicago study has shown literacy levels in 3rd grade to be one of the strongest predictors of a student's future success. In the study, 55% of students reading below grade level in 3rd grade eventually dropped out of school. Knowing the importance of K-3 literacy, Colorado teachers feel strongly that students unable to read in the third grade should be held back.

A whopping 69% of survey respondents agree with the policy that if a student, after thorough evaluation, is unable to read on grade level by third grade, the student should be retained and placed on an individual learning plan for at least a year before progressing to 4th grade

Further, survey participants were asked to rank policy changes to solve the current K-3 literacy problem. While results varied, 84% of respondents ranked early notification and attempts to involve parents when student scores were low on reading assessments as having the most impact on the crisis. Respondents indicated the least impactful policy change (42%) would be tying literacy scores to district accreditation.


  Least    Some impact   impact 

Major/ Greatest Impact

The restructuring and streamlining of the Individualized Literacy Plan to align with Response to Intervention efforts




The inclusion of primary grades reading scores in determining district accreditation




Recommending retention and a specialized literacy plan for non-proficient 3rd grade readers




Requiring retention and a specialized literacy plan for non-proficient 3rd grade readers




Requiring that all primary grades teachers have (or be in the process of pursuing) a masters level Reading Endorsement paid for by

the state




Early and frequent assessment of all primary grade students




Early notification and attempt to involve parents when a student scores low on reading assessments




Early and frequent computer-based assessments of all primary grades students






Transparency has been a hot topic in regards to school boards and unions opening up negotiations to the public. Eighty percent of teachers agree that these negotiations should, in fact, be open to the public.


As the profession evolves, and the cry for reform grows louder, Colorado teachers are embracing commonsense solutions that push transparency and put students first. PACE is listening and we look forward to sharing your thoughts with policymakers and stakeholders on all levels.


The Professional Association of Colorado Educators (PACE) conducted this survey in March of 2012. The survey was sent to over 1,000 teachers, and had over 100 respondents. All of the respondents are members of PACE, yet they represent a cross-section of the teaching profession in terms of geography, seniority, and school type. Respondents represent 36 school districts, both urban and rural; 60% have been teaching for 10 or more years; and 14% teach in a charter or innovation school.



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