Friday, June 10, 2011

Listening to Educators

The Kentucky Board of Education received a summary of the results from the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Kentucky Survey this week. Over 42,000 educators responded to the survey. Kentucky had the largest first-year response rate of any other state utilizing the survey (more than 80 percent).

Board Chair David Karem and several other board members were very clear – “Given the enormous response to the survey, if we do not utilize the data from the survey, then we will make working conditions and morale worse in our schools and districts.”

It is time now to ensure that we not only listen to our educators, but we also enact policies, budgets and actions that will improve the working conditions in our schools. The research is very clear that the working conditions in our schools impact student learning and teacher retention.

The TELL Kentucky survey was developed and implemented by a strong coalition of partner organizations across Kentucky. For a full list of the partners, please go to This group did an amazing job of planning and implementing strategies that would ensure strong participation by educators across Kentucky.

The results speak for themselves. The coalition is now hard at work in focusing on how to utilize the results from the survey. The Education Professional Standards Board, Kentucky School Boards Association, Kentucky Association of School Administrators, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, Kentucky Education Association, Kentucky Association of School Councils and others are hard at working developing training modules and materials for school boards, superintendents, principals, school councils and communities. The Kentucky Department of Education will be working to implement policies and procedures to ensure schools and districts utilize the data to develop improvement plans.

It is our plan to provide the survey every two years and require schools and districts to target improvement areas from the survey results in their school and district improvement plans. We are very confident with the research base that if schools and districts improve working conditions, we will see increases in student learning outcomes, teacher/principal morale and teacher/principal retention rates.

Our educators have told us what they need in the way of support – our job as leaders is to now get busy in providing that support!

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