Survey: Fewer Davidson Co. educators feel their school is 'good place to work and learn'

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 4:51pm

A growing percentage of Davidson County educators note support in key aspects of their jobs, but fewer teachers here say their school is “a good place to work and learn,” according to a recent survey.

The percentage of licensed educators — public and private — who agreed their school is a good place to be at dropped 4.1 percent in the last two years, according to the TELL Tennessee survey released Tuesday. Seventy-nine percent of teachers in Davidson County attest their school is a good place to work and learn, compared to 83.4 percent statewide.

“Can you find 80 percent of people who agree with much of anything?” Kevin Huffman, Tennessee’s Education Commissioner, asked reporters after unveiling the survey results with Gov. Bill Haslam at Stewart’s Creek Elementary School in Smyrna Tuesday.

Of the state’s four largest counties, Davidson County teachers are the least likely to say their school is a good place to work and learn, compared to 82.7 percent in Shelby County, 82.1 percent in Knox County and 80.9 percent in Hamilton County.

View the survey results here.

The survey comes at the hands of the New Teacher Center, a national organization focused on developing high-quality teachers. The group administered the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) survey in Tennessee and 11 other states.

The Center first surveyed teachers in the Volunteer State in 2011, then again in February and March of this year. The focus, according to the survey, is to collect feedback on issues such as time during the day for collaborative instructional planning, school and teacher leadership, facilities and resources, professional development, and other support needed for educators to do their job.

“If you think about what we’ve done in the last two years — from changing the tenure process to, most notably, changing the evaluation process which has gotten a lot of attention — for results to improve during a time of fairly tumultuous change, I think really speaks well for Tennessee,” said Haslam.

Of the more than 6,400 teachers in Davidson County, 5,365 responded to this year’s survey, yielding an 83.4 percent response rate.

The survey found several dips on issues like teacher evaluations and performance among Davidson County teachers.

The percentage of educators who say procedures for teacher evaluations “are consistent” dropped more than 9 percentage points, according to the survey, from 82.5 percent to 73.2 percent. Those who said their performance is “assessed objectively” fell more than 6 percentage points, from 84.4 percent to 78.3 percent.

The survey also found double-digit jumps in teacher agreement in other areas. The TELL survey saw a boost of almost 19 percent among teachers agreeing state assessment data is ready in time to impact instruction, and a 12 percent jump of teachers agreeing local test data is also available. The tally of teachers who agree work is being done to minimize the amount of routine administrative paperwork climbed by 13 percentage points.

Almost 92 percent of teachers said they are encouraged to try new things to improve instruction. While that topic is the one most teachers agree on, that percentage is virtually unchanged from 2011.

Metro Nashville Public School officials declined to comment on the survey results and said they need more time to review the data.


10 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 4/30/13 at 3:59

With the Legislative Branch and the Governor going after the teachers has just about brought them to their knees. MNPS has some of the best and most dedicated teachers that you will find anywhere. But how much beating down can one stand. It is not the teachers that's the problem

By: govskeptic on 4/30/13 at 7:28

Attitudes like pswindle's is the problem with a large percentages of these teachers,
and especially for the Union members which consider any accountability on their
part as an insult to their lifetime of democratic party loyalty., votes, and dues.

Well prepared, competent and motivated Teachers might be agitated by some
of this, but they are not the ones whining and bitching to any voice or camera
they can find. A large number knows thing have to change, and as large or
larger group want their incompetence and lack of motivation cover under tenure.

Thank goodness a new day is dawning in both K-12 and at a slower pace the
over priced-under achieving University/College system. Hopefully it's not to late.

By: Rasputin72 on 5/1/13 at 6:00

Davidson county school system has become part of the welfare system. The exception neing Hume Fogg. I cannot imagine many truly qualified teachers wpuld consider teaching animals and future criminals,addicts and unwilling learners as rewarding.

By: pipecarver on 5/1/13 at 7:57

At what point will the news media be required to take a reasonable number of statistics classes BEFORE they are allowed to publish their work? A drop of 4-percentage points after a years worth of politically biased smear campaigns suggest those very actions are failing to achieve their goal.

By: Specter47 on 5/1/13 at 8:09

Of course there is a drop! Why is this a surprise? It's not the state or the governor causing the problem, PSWINDLE. Under the leadership of the World's Smartest Man, Jesse Register, and his doofus minions like Gay Steele, Metro has gotten worse and worse. And the Board keeps renewing Register's contract. The School Board must be held accountable.

By: Badbob on 5/1/13 at 8:24

Tenure protects teachers from abusive principals. A Principal can now fire a teacher for sny reason. This puts teachers at risk of loosing their career because of personal prejudices of the Principal. This will ultimately result in worse schools.

An example from this year, is that a teacher was strangled by a student that required 2 others to pull the kid off the teacher. This was the 2nd teacher attacked by this kid. The Principal at the school refused to report the incident because that would be a black mark on the school and therefore, her. So, if the teacher calls the police to report the crime (which by law is required to be reported!), the Principal will fire the teacher.

Only a Republican would think this is the way to improve schools. You know, like in Williamson County where they do not renew teachers the year they will become tenured. Yeah, that's the ticket, replace the experienced teachers with brand new ones right out of college.

By: pswindle on 5/1/13 at 9:27

Teachers have always been held accountable, but there is a difference between accountability and being bullied. Before Geo. Bush came in and changed the concept to teaching to the test and the teacher and the teacher alone will be held accountable, the teachers, students, principals and parents all had respect for each other and learning happened. Then last year the TN Legislative put their two-sense in and the rest is history.

By: djarrell on 5/1/13 at 11:35

Anyone know when teacher-bashing season over?

By: rbrady42 on 5/2/13 at 8:42

I hope the bashing season is done! We don't actually sit around, consider the myraid of jobs for which we are qualified, and choose the one with the best pay and benefits! We don't feel like there is anything else we could do that would give us the joy that teaching affords. No, I don't teach for Metro, but I have relatives who do. I teach where the pay lags behind Metro, but the kids are more than worth the effort. We don't do this job for the prestige of the oft talked about summer vacation. We do this job because it makes us whole. We want to be held accountable! We just want a reasonable way to measure our accountability. Depending heavily on the scores of students, who have chaotic lives often which we can't imagine, isn't a reasonable way to evaluate our ability as teachers. Humans are very emotional beings, and life brings many emotional highs and lows. Why should our success be judged on the performance of our students on one main assessment?

By: Specter47 on 5/3/13 at 6:45

That's it! I knew it had to come out! It's BUSH's FAULT! He and the Republicans! And that REPUBLICAN Teddy Kennedy, too! Bush MADE him sponsor the NCLB law! Thanks, pswindle for setting me straight. I should have known you would have the answer. And badbob, you too.