Research has not presented a clear way to classify teachers’ entrepreneurial aptitudes. As the number of innovative programs in education increase, will there be enough teachers with entrepreneurial orientation for these schools? Transferring EO research into education may inform policy makers how to identify entrepreneurial teachers and sustain innovation.
EO Domain Definitions
Innovativeness captures a teacher’s willingness to depart from traditional methods of teaching and learning by developing novel ideas, experimenting with new approaches, and being creative. Proactiveness captures a teacher’s initiative when anticipating problems, identifying opportunities to solve them, taking immediate, often preventative action, and persevering until their planning brings about results. Risk taking captures a teacher’s willingness to take chances and gamble on unproven approaches, even when the outcome is highly uncertain.
This study used California’s Department of Education school affidavit website. Excel files were downloaded in three categories: charter, private, and traditional public. Principals’ email addresses were randomly selected and sent a solicitation, which they could forward on to their teachers for participation in the study. A total of 729 California teachers completed the survey. Exploratory factor analysis confirmed the consistency and reliability of the instrument. Multiple regression tested EO factors as constant variables, while school type, school level, years of teaching, gender, and ethnicity were controlled. ANOVA tests were run to determine which results had statistical significance.
Risk taking, with an eigenvalue of 5.91, accounted for 22% of the variance in total EO score. Innovativeness, with an eigenvalue of 3.09, accounted for 20% of the variance in total EO score. Proactiveness, with an eigenvalue of 1.39, accounted for 16% of the variance in total EO score. These factors combined accounted for 58% of the total variance in total EO score.
RQ1: Do EO scores differ among teachers in charter, private, and public schools?
Differences on the EO subscales for the three types of schools were compared using ANOVA and there were no significant differences between charter, private, and public school teachers along innovation (all ps > .712). Public school teachers scored significantly higher on the proactive subscale, than charter school teachers (p = .011). Charter school teachers scored significantly higher on the risk taking subscale, than traditional public school teachers (p = .003). Charter schools and private schools are often perceived as being more innovative than traditional public schools (Broughman et al., 2011; Lake, 2008), yet these scores did not reflect this. These results agree with the hypothesis that charter school teacher turnover may explain the lack of difference in student achievement between charters and traditional public schools (Payne, 2013).
The significant difference between traditional public school teachers and charter school teachers on proactiveness may suggest that unionized teachers in the public school sector feel more comfortable advocating for their students. The finding that charter school teachers scored significantly higher along the risk taking subscale is consistent with research that shows seniority-based hiring practices employed by public schools discourage mobility (Moe, 2011). This may explain why public school teachers in this study scored lower along the risk taking subscale.