The invisible schism: Teachers’ and administrators’ differing perceptions of education reforms
Keywords:education reform, education policy, teacher perceptions, teacher evaluations, teacher effectiveness, teacher quality, administrator perceptions
This study examined teachers’ and administrators’ perceptions of education reforms, focusing on a state legislated education bill that altered teacher evaluations. A mixed-method design, including an electronic survey, was used to gather perceptions of Colorado Senate Bill 10-191: Great Teachers and Leaders Act from teachers and administrators in the Rockies School District (RSD), as well as these two groups’ general perceptions of teacher evaluations, education reforms, and change. Results revealed that teachers collectively hold similar views of education reforms, as do administrators; however, how each group perceives these elements of education policy and reform differs significantly. Both teachers and administrators believed that their groups see education reforms similarly, yet these groups had statistically significant differences on more than half of the survey questions. Qualitative data, in the form of open-ended responses to survey questions and semi-formal interviews, corroborated these findings. The two groups were unaware that their perceptions vary on critical issues related to the successful implementation of this education reform. This perception gap raises the questions of whether and how they can work together as reform implementation moves forward, and whether and how they can collectively support student learning as each group envisions, regardless of the policy itself.