Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced today that after two years of rapid change, Tennessee educators reported improved work environments in a broad range of categories, all shown to correlate to increased student achievement.
The results from the second statewide TELL (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning) Tennessee Survey are now available, and more than 61,000 educators, or 82 percent, in the state responded, a five percentage point increase from 2011. Across Tennessee, 1,627 of 1,774 schools, or 91 percent, reached a response rate of at least 50 percent.
"We know that when educators feel good about the culture and climate of their school, that leads to increased results for our students," Haslam said. "We want to hear from our teachers, and I am grateful that so many of them took the time to respond."
From Feb. 18 through March 22, 2013, all school-based licensed educators were asked to complete the online survey using an anonymous access code. Educators were asked to submit their perceptions on a variety of issues related to student achievement and teacher retention, including the adequacy of facilities and resources; time; empowerment; school leadership; community support; student conduct; professional development; mentoring and induction services; and student learning. The results will be used by school-based decision making teams, schools, districts, and numerous other organizations to improve the teaching and learning conditions in the state's schools and districts.
In the 2013 TELL survey, Tennessee saw significant growth in the percentage of teachers who felt they were required to do less routine paperwork (10.3 percentage points) and that test data is available to them soon enough for them to make changes to their instructional practices (13.5 percentage points). Nearly 90 percent of Tennessee's teachers believe they are trusted to make professional decisions about instruction and are given autonomy. More than eight out of 10 educators (83 percent) agree that community members support teachers, contributing to their success with students, an increase of five percentage points from 2011. Eighty-six percent of participants in 2013 agree that the community they serve is supportive of their school, an increase of four percentage points.
"This survey reaffirms that we have leaders across Tennessee who successfully have implemented many education changes, while improving the working conditions for teachers in their schools," Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said. "It shows that it is possible to have both high expectations and a positive work environment."
The survey was administered by the New Teacher Center (NTC), a national organization dedicated to supporting the development of a high-quality teaching force. NTC has conducted similar surveys in other states and provides induction and professional development for teachers and principals across the country.
Results for the state, all districts, and the 1,627 schools may be viewed at www.telltennessee.org.