Since No Child Left Behind legislation was enacted, accountability features intended to assure that all students receive quality education have influenced teachers' perceptions and actions in the classroom leading many to leave the profession. The problem is that high teacher attrition rates plague education. The intent of this research was to explore and discover teachers' experiences with NCLB, including how they made sense of their experiences, and how it affected their patterns of behaviors and decision making. Fifteen instructors of grades three through five in Texas participated in interviews and responded to a grand tour question. Utilizing classical grounded theory methodology, the core variable, Caring Less, emerged from the data. Initial stages began with conditions and consequences that were present in participants' experiences in the substantive area of teachers working with NCLB legislation, forming the framework for the theory. The theory, Caring Less, accounted for the greatest variation in participants' behavior explaining how educators resolved their main concerns. It established four main categories: conforming to the mandate, obeying authority, being in relationship, and wanting out. Overwhelmed and overloaded educators de-prioritized critical portions of their work, caring less about components of their employment that affect students. The high level of stress associated with the pressures of testing and accountability seriously impacted their role as educators and contributed to teacher demoralization and instructor attrition. Conclusions include the necessity for pre-service training at the university level to include instruction and practical experiences with co-teaching, new teacher induction and mentoring, and training for social and emotional competence. For veteran instructors, districts' likelihood of retaining teachers is greater if choices in voluntary staff development are offered, training in social emotional competence is available, and teacherpreneural opportunities are supported by school administration. For school districts, campus studies of burnout and modifying hiring practices to measure grit as part of the hiring process may improve teacher retention. Recommended for future research is administrative leadership due to its effect on campus culture. In this study, effective school leadership was the most significant factor in determining how educators perceived their ability to navigate their employment under NCLB.
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Teacher education|
|Keywords:||Demoralization, Education, Education policy, Elementary education, Grounded theory, No child left behind|
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