2022 N.C. teacher working-conditions survey results released, CMS educators weigh in

The survey is done every two years.
More than 7,800 CMS educators responded to the state-wide survey.
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 7:09 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - There are several factors that can affect how an educator views the quality of their workplace.

Every two years the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction conducts the teacher working conditions survey.

The survey is completed by full and part-time teachers, school administrators and licensed school-based educators.

This is the first time the survey was completed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had its own impacts on school systems across the state. Survey results were presented by the NCDPI on Wednesday.

Olympic High School Exceptional Children’s teacher Robert Wright said the pandemic only exacerbated issues that were already present. He has been with CMS since 2018.

“COVID brought to light a lot of things that were a problem before COVID even happened,” Wright said.

The survey was sent to all of the district’s 180 schools, and 7,802 out of 11,236 people responded.

Data shows that 46% of responding CMS teachers felt they don’t have enough non-instructional time to complete tasks compared to 57% across the entire state.

Non-instructional time includes any time during the day without the responsibility for student contact, including collaboration planning, meetings/conferences with students and families, etc.

“Usually our schedules are so packed, our agendas are so packed that we can’t always attack every single thing,” Wright said.

The survey also looked into other factors including instructional practices, professional development, internet access, safety and retention.

Data showed that 7% of teachers in the state are planning to leave the profession.

Karen Stokes is a guest teacher at Olympic High School. CMS said 900 teachers have left the district since August. Stokes said she enjoys working with her students and supporting other teachers in need due to vacancies.

“I feel it’s an honor and a privilege for me to come to one school and dedicate my services to that one particular school day-to-day,” she said.

Stokes has been with CMS since 2019, originally starting as a substitute. Both she and Wright are planning to return in the fall. Wright is pursuing a professional development position.

High agreement points from educators across the state include:

  • 90% of respondents believe teachers are encouraged to participate in school leadership roles
  • 89% believe their school leadership facilitates using data to improve student learning
  • 96% of respondents say teachers use digital content and resources in their instruction
  • 92% of respondents believe teachers give parents and guardians useful information about student learning.

There were also low agreement points from educators across the state:

  • 62% percent believe class sizes are reasonable to the point where teachers have the time available to meet the needs of all of their students.
  • 62% believe the working conditions survey is used as a tool for school improvement.
  • 57% believe professional development is evaluated and that the results are communicated to teachers.
  • 56% believe professional development is differentiated to meet the individual needs of teachers.

Survey data showed 77% of CMS educators agreed that student possession of weapons rarely occurred at their schools.

A total of 28 guns have been reported on several school campuses since the second day of school along with hundreds of weapons.

Wright says he was skeptical of some responses and questioned the accuracy of results, especially if they can be used for improvement.

“I actually want to challenge and ask the district how much of this data is actually true and honest, clear or even reported,” he said.

CMS purchased and installed body scanners at more than 20 high schools, implemented an anonymous reporting system “Say Something,” and doubled the number of random safety screenings.

Stokes says the body scanners and Say Something app is very helpful, especially with reporting bullying.

“It really works, they feel safer once they call the tip line, and it’s anonymous,” she said.

CMS also spent nearly $442,000 on 46,000 clear backpacks for high school students as a way to provide more visibility and deter students from bringing weapons to school.

The district halted distributing the clear backpacks after discovering that 40,000 of the bags from one manufacturer had warning tags required by Proposition 65 for California residents.

Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

The district placed the bags under review and the bags have not been distributed as of June 3, 2022. The last day of school is June 8.

“We paid all of this money toward these clear bookbags, where are the bookbags? Where have they gone?” Wright questioned.

Wright also believes CMS needs to hire additional staff to do safety screenings while students walk through the body scanners.

To see a full breakdown of results by the state, school districts, and individual schools, click here.

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