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

Remember when teachers in North Carolina received an extended deadline to complete the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey for the Department of Public Instruction. The state was somewhere at 90% of teachers completing it at the beginning of April. State Superintendent Mark Johnson wanted at least 95%.

It was to be a badge of honor for him.

The survey happens once every two years, yet this was the first one with Mark Johnson as the state superintendent. It became such a crusade for him to get every teacher to participate in this survey that he issued a “sweet” incentive: if we as a state got %95 of teachers to complete the survey and were 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 would run that race and eat doughnuts for us. He will literally throw up, yak, hurl, puke, upchuck, heave, vomit, and blow chunks for us.

Turns out even though we did not get the %95 rate, Johnson will still run the Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh. IT may be the first public appearance he has made in Raleigh that might also have public school teachers present.

But I have one big (among smaller ones) complaint about this year’s survey: it should have asked about teachers’ views not only of their school, but MORE of their perceptions of the state leadership.

You can see the questions that were administered on the 2018 version and the results here:  https://ncteachingconditions.org/results.

The results from this 2018 version do nothing more than demonstrate the disconnect that those who want to re-form schools and establish mandates and laws like HB514 have with the reality of 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 would have also gone 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 how 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 next year.

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 wanted us to fill out the survey.

Johnson1

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

Interesting about Kentucky and their teachers. Just a couple of weeks before we did in NC they “answered” some questions about their own working conditions. In person. At the state capital.

We did the same thing.

IMG_6484

Think of it as a “personal” way of answering the Working Conditions Survey.

How many doughnuts is that participation worth?

One thought on “Something’s Still Wrong With North Carolina DPI’s Teacher Working Conditions Survey

  1. So let’s create one for teachers to take eating the state. I’m sure many news outlets would be interested in the results of that survey. It could still be anonymous.

    Like

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