More than 6,000 teachers, principals and other education workers took the anonymous survey earlier this year.
The first statewide survey of school workers in Delaware covered topics from school safety to professional development and featured special questions for both new teachers and school administrators.
“We heard from thousands of educators about the conditions around them, the system around them,” said Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy. “Not only is that a powerful tool for educators to be able to voice their opinions, but that’s an incredibly powerful tool for us as policy makers to make those conditions better.”
The survey found that 80 percent of Delaware educators agreed that their schools are a “good place to work and learn,” while 77 percent planned to stay at their current school. Nearly 90 percent felt that their school environment was safe.
As for areas that need improvement, just 53 percent of teachers felt that they had an appropriate level of influence on decision making at their school, and just 39 percent felt there was enough of an effort to minimize the paperwork teachers must complete.
That was a big area of concern for Delaware State Education Association president Frederika Jenner. “There has to be some assessment and some prioritization of what is required and what you actually need to keep and maintain in order to do an exceptional job of instructing children, and what somebody else can do, or you can stop doing.” She says while the survey has identified this issue as a concern for teachers, now it’s up to the state to do something about it. “Then it actually has to happen. There has to be something that comes off the plate,” Jenner said.
The Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning Survey was funded through a portion of the state’s Race to the Top grant. The TELL survey results are being posted online for all to see. Murphy hopes the results will inspire school leaders to use the information to improve on the local and district level too. “We can see people engage around this information in a way that is incredibly transparent and open, and that then affords them the tools to take immediate action.”