Many dimensions of teacher working conditions influence both teacher and student outcomes; yet, analyses of schools’ overall working conditions are challenged by high correlations among the dimensions. Our study overcame this challenge by applying latent profile analysis of Virginia teachers’ perceptions of school leadership, instructional agency, professional growth opportunities, rigorous instruction, managing student behavior, family engagement, physical environment, and safety. We identified four classes of schools: Supportive (61%), Unsupportive (7%), Unstructured (22%), and Structured (11%). The patterns of these classes suggest schools may face tradeoffs between factors such as more teacher autonomy for less instructional rigor or discipline. Teacher satisfaction and their stated retention intentions were correlated with their school’s working conditions classes, and school contextual factors predicted class membership. By identifying formerly unseen profiles of teacher working conditions and considering the implications of being a teacher in each, decisionmakers can provide schools with targeted supports and investments.
This mixed methods research study explores superintendents’ beliefs about and engagement in state education policymaking processes. Through interviews with 58 superintendents and a national survey of superintendents, I find that many superintendents feel that their voices have value in state policymaking spaces; however, superintendents’ actual engagement in state policymaking processes is relatively low. Three factors shape superintendents’ state policy engagement: (1) personal capacity, (2) proximity to state capitol, and (3) district size. This work can guide the development of formal educational opportunities and experiences to better prepare superintendents to engage in policy spaces. Colleges of education, researchers, and policymakers can also draw on this work as they consider solutions to reduce inequalities in superintendents’ access to shape state education policy.