I told you yesterday that former Secretary of Education William Bennett is “very impressed” with the major innovative overhaul going on in Douglas County School District. The district has passed 9 months now without a governing union contract, and also continues to defend a groundbreaking private choice program in the courts. A prominent outside expert may be impressed, but what about the district’s teachers?
The latest edition of the Colorado TELL survey is out, in which teachers answer a long series of questions about their schools as a workplace environment. Sponsored by the state’s department of education and several large education interest groups, the third TELL survey was open for teachers across Colorado to answer from February 6 to March 6. In many (but not all) cases, detailed data for each question is broken down at the individual district or school level.
Yesterday Douglas County touted some very favorable news from the fresh results, starting with the fact 71.7 percent of teachers participated in the survey — 17 points higher than the 2013 state average and 22 points higher than the district’s 2011 numbers. Dougco teacher satisfaction significantly outpaced the state average on 75 of 97 data points (lower on only 7 points). Given the major changes happening in the district, it’s also noteworthy that teacher satisfaction significantly improved on 63 of 94 questions since 2011, while noticeably declining on just 3.
Conditions certainly aren’t perfect, and there is some lingering concern about a new evaluation system coming. Yet overall, Dougco teachers’ own answers paint a highly positive district portrait. To further highlight the point, I’ve compiled the results of how many Dougco teachers agreed with 10 key TELL survey questions, comparing them not only with the state average but also with the three other large — and all unionized — metro Denver suburban districts. (In parentheses for each question are Dougco’s results from two years ago.) Judge for yourselves: Continue Reading »