by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
In their June 2014 Public School Partners Newsletter, N.C. Department of Public Instruction (DPI) officials try to spin the results of the 2014 Teacher Working Conditions Survey to make it appear that working conditions have deteriorated over the last two years. I discussed the survey results here and found few differences between the 2012 and 2014 surveys.
The DPI statements are bulleted and my response is below each.
Obviously there will be variations in survey responses across schools and districts. The fact that some of them report changes in working conditions should not suggest that there is a systematic problem.
Indeed, there was a 5 percent drop in teachers who agree that they have “sufficient access to appropriate instructional materials.” But teacher report having the same or greater access to computers, office equipment, and supplies.
Although there was a drop in the percentage of teachers who agree that they have “sufficient resources are available for professional development in my school,” it was a trivial 1.6 percent decline from 2012.
Perhaps it is worth mentioning that DPI is responsible for student assessments. Any shortcomings associated with the state testing program falls directly on our state education agency.
In 2014, 7 percent of respondents said that they plan to leave education, compared to 5 percent in 2012. Unfortunately, we do not know why they plan to leave. The survey does not ask respondents to explain their answer.
Because the folks at DPI were too busy emphasizing the negative, they forgot to mention that the percentage of teachers who agree that their school “is a good place to work and learn” remained at 85 percent in 2014.