Something’s Wrong With the North Carolina DPI’s Teacher Working Conditions Survey

Teachers in North Carolina have an extended deadline to complete the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey for the Department of Public Instruction. Currently we are at 90% of teachers completing it. State Superintendent Mark Johnson wants at least 95%.

It would be a badge of honor for him.

The survey happens once every two years, yet this is the first one with Mark Johnson as the state superintendent. It has become such a crusade for him to get every teacher to participate in this survey that he has issued a “sweet” incentive: if we as a state get %95 of teachers to complete the survey and are the top state as far as participation percentages are concerned, Mark Johnson said he would compete in the Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh next year.

Mark Johnson will run that race and eat doughnuts for us. He will literally throw up, yak, hurl, puke, upchuck, heave, vomit, and blow chunks for us.

But I have one big (among smaller ones) complaint about the survey: it should ask teachers views not only of their school, but MORE of their perceptions of the county / LEA leadership and state leadership.

You can see the questions that were administered on the 2016 version here: NC_TWC_2016_State_Detailed_Results_North_Carolina_Department_of_Public_Instruction. Those questions have not really changed.

The results from that 2016 version did nothing more than demonstrate the disconnect between those who work in schools and those who want to re-form schools; they displayed that what really drives the success of a school are the people – from the students to the teachers to the administration to the support staff and the community at large.

It is hard to take a survey seriously from DPI when the questions never get beyond a teacher’s actual school. There is never any way to convey in this survey from the state what teachers think about the state’s role in education or how standardized testing is affecting working conditions.

It should ask teachers views not only of their school, but MORE of their perceptions of the county / LEA leadership and state leadership.

Below are the main questions (there are subsets) asked on the survey that actual teachers answer.

  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements about the use of time in your school.
  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements about your school facilities and resources.
  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements about community support and involvement in your school.
  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements about managing student conduct in your school.
  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements about teacher leadership in your school.
  • Please indicate the role teachers have in each of the following areas in your school.
  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with statements about leadership in your school.
  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with statements about professional development in your school.
  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements about instructional practices and support in your school.

There is nothing about how teachers feel about the state’s role in how public schools operate. If Johnson was really keen on “listening” to teachers concerning their views about working in NC public schools, then the questions should also go beyond the “School” and explore the “state.”

Imagine if we as teachers got to answer questions such as:

  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements about ho the state helps schools with facilities and resources.
  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements about the state’s support and involvement in your school.
  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements about state leadership at the Department of Public Instruction.
  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with statements about state leadership.
  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with statements about professional development sponsored by the state.
  • Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements about  support for schools from the state.

When NC public schools receive a majority of their funds, mandates, stipulations, guidelines, and marching orders from the state, then should not the NC Teacher Working Condition Survey include teacher perceptions on the role of the state and its influence?

Yes.

But the results of those questions on the survey would tell a much more pointed story, one that Mark Johnson may not really want to know or have published. It may make him actually throw up those doughnuts before he even eats them.

We need more pointed questions.

Mark Johnson prided himself on conducting a “Listening Tour” when he assumed office. A more “genuine” Teacher Working Conditions Survey would give him a lot to consider.

But until the survey is changed, his lack of leadership and the privatizing elements on West Jones Street will have a survey that instantly absolves them of blame. No wonder Johnson so wants us to fill out the survey.

Johnson1

And there’s that hashtag, #BeatKY. Kentucky holds the record for response rate.

Interesting about Kentucky and their teachers. Just this week they “answered” some questions about their own working conditions.

In person.

At the state capital.

kentucky teachers

How many doughnuts is that participation worth?

3 thoughts on “Something’s Wrong With the North Carolina DPI’s Teacher Working Conditions Survey

  1. Pingback: The Office of The NC State Superintendent – Where Doughnuts Are More Important Than Public Schools | caffeinated rage

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