Now Is The Time For The Teacher Working Conditions Survey

Many surveys have already been sent over the past eight months out to teachers, parents, and guardians about the best possible ways to open up schools and keep them open.

Options across all those surveys offered multiple scenarios and often took less than five minutes to complete. They were needed to a great extent…

… but did they really have a sense of what happened when we started this school year and navigated through unprecedented surges in COVID-19?

The North Carolina General Assembly is literally sitting on billions of unspent dollars and refused to pass a new budget for this year – ultimately affecting our public schools.

Last year educators were presented with the biannual opportunity to complete the state’s Teacher Working Condition Survey. And it had an interesting spin attached to it for 2020.

It was packaged as “ASQNC.” Remember this?


Funny that Mark Johnson asked us how to make North Carolina’s schools better right after primaries for state offices. We actually answered a few days before by making sure that he would not have an office next term in Raleigh that directly impacts public education.

It is hard to take a survey very seriously from DPI when the questions never get beyond a teacher’s actual school and district. There was 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 or how funding affects schools’ abilities to reach students.

That 2018 and 2020 version should have asked teachers’ views not only of their school, but MORE of their perceptions of  state and local leadership.

But now we need another one here in late 2020 and early 2021.

One that truly measures how teachers have felt in being supported by their leadership and government on the local and state levels during the pandemic.

And the questions need to be honest and forthcoming.

Questions should ask how comfortable teachers have felt about the different plans being used in opening schools. Questions need to ask about perceived risks and how comfortable teachers felt about going back into classrooms where many students (and parents) may not follow protocols of safety.

Questions should be asked of what expectations might be tagged to teachers above and beyond what they already do on school days without a pandemic. And how teachers feel about those extra expectations.

Questions should be asked about what extra funds and resources really needed to be provided by the state or local LEA.

And it should be anonymous as well as have places where teachers can ask more questions and provide more concrete insights.

Then publish the results.