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Study Shows Generosity of K-12 Teachers

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Members of the Arkansas Tech University faculty have conducted a study that reveals how generous K-12 educators in the state of Arkansas are with their personal resources for the benefit of their students.
“The stereotypes of educators in the media have had a disturbing consistency over the past two decades,” said Dr. Sid Womack, professor of secondary education at Arkansas Tech. “Arkansas educators do not fit the caricatures from elsewhere. They are unselfish professionals who give freely of their time and money to make better lives for their students.”
Womack (photographed, right) was joined in the study, entitled “The Truth About Educators,” by Dr. Shellie Hanna (photographed, left), assistant professor of health and physical education at Arkansas Tech.

The 2012 study is a follow-up of similar research that Womack conducted in 1990 and 2002.

For the latest round of research, Womack and Hanna surveyed 485 randomly selected teachers and administrators from small, medium and large school districts in Arkansas. 

Among their findings are:

*K-12 teachers in Arkansas work an average of 60 hours per week during the academic year, while the averages for K-12 principals (65 hours per week), K-12 band directors (64 hours per week) and K-12 coaches (63 hours per week) are slightly higher.

*K-12 educators average 15 unpaid days per summer working on advanced degrees or other types of professional development;

*based upon data collected from Nov. 7-11, 2011, Arkansas educators donate an average of $17.29 per week of their own money to their classrooms and schools;

*extrapolated over a typical 36-week instructional year, the 35,000 individuals engaged in K-12 education in Arkansas donate approximately $21.785 million to their classrooms and schools per year.

“A disturbing repercussion of such benevolence is that over time, patrons may come to believe that states such as Arkansas may actually educate children for low-appearing per-pupil expenditures,” said Womack.

With assistance from fellow Arkansas Tech faculty members Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim and Dr. Stephanie Pepper as well as Henderson State University faculty member Dr. Peggy Woodall, Womack and Hanna are using their findings and research-based prescriptions about how to use time more efficiently in schools to create a book about teamwork at the campus level and the district level.

“Arkansas educators are a different breed than the national average,” said Womack. “They seem to be looking for a livable but not extravagant lifestyle and a little occasional old-fashioned appreciation for what they do. Most go about their jobs in whole-hearted, simple and altruistic ways.”

Click here to learn more about the Arkansas Tech College of Education.