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Contact: Christine Payton Sept. 11, 2009
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu
Illustration by Anne Darrah
Teacher ValuesDr. Robert Slater, a professor of education at UL Lafayette, was curious: Do teachers share the same values as other Americans?

The answer to that question matters because teachers impart more than facts and figures to their students. They also convey beliefs about “what is right, good and important in life,” he said.

So, Slater analyzed results of the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey from 1972 to 2006. It produces what he has described as “one of the largest, most reliable, and frequently used data sets in the social sciences.”

Slater wrote about his findings in Education Next, a journal published by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. CBS covered his results, along with the Washington Post, New York Sun and National Review. Brittanica.com, an online encyclopedia, also posted results of his study.

Here are some of the professor’s conclusions:

• Teachers tend to be less supportive of free speech rights than Americans with similar levels of education. But they are more supportive of free speech rights than other less-educated Americans.

• Teachers expressed more conservative views on homosexuality than other Americans with similar levels of education.

• Thirty-seven percent of teachers reported attending church at least once a week, compared to 26 percent of Americans who say they attend one or more times per week.

• Teachers are 9 to 11 percent more likely to pray one or more times per day than other Americans.

Document last revised Tuesday, September 15, 2009 5:40 PM

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