F o r e w o r d f r o m M e t L i f e
The education debate swept the nation in the 1980s. But the crucial voice of the teacher was often
missing. Believing that better policies would be crafted if informed by the classroom, in 1984 we
asked Louis Harris & Associates, Inc. (now Harris Interactive Inc.) to elicit teachers' opinions on
That began our annual series: The Metropolitan Life Survey of the American Teacher. Survey top-
ics have changed to address salient issues over the years, but the underlying premise remains unal-
tered: to bring the voices of those most affected by education reforms and most familiar with
classroom realities to the attention of policymakers and the American public.
Education is a top concern of the nation as we enter the 21st century. Newspapers and politi-
cal debates are awash with references to schools. But what do we know about the expectations young
people hold for their future? Are schools preparing students for the world they will face after grad-
uation? Who bears responsibility for educating America's youth? Our newest survey explores what
teachers, students and parents think about today's teens, where they are headed, and how prepared
they are to get there.
The survey tells us that students hold high expectations for themselves in terms of their educa-
tion, career, and personal life. It also tells us that parents and teachers do not see the same promise.
This misalignment is revealing. Schools, teachers, and parents each play a pivotal role in ushering
America's youth into adulthood. Yet if adults do not share students' optimism for the future, who will
provide them with opportunities and tools to fulfill their promise?
Through the 2000 survey, MetLife continues its commitment to improving public education. It
is our intention that the findings spark discussion on how we can come together to set America's
youth on the road to a better future.
Robert H. Benmosche
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer