By State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery, Ed. D.
Maryland has the nation’s top-rated public schools, but we know we can do better. We’re already making record investments in Maryland public schools. To further improve, we need advice and feedback from the very group most responsible for our ranking: Maryland educators. The 2013 TELL Maryland Survey was designed for that very purpose.
This year’s survey, conducted in February, was the third in a series developed in collaboration with the New Teacher Center. With the great support of Governor O’Malley—and working with the Maryland State Education Association, the Baltimore Teachers Union, local school system superintendents, and other partners—educators responded to this year’s survey in record numbers. More than 50,000 educators completed this survey, an increase of nearly 8,000 from the first survey in 2009 and more than 3,000 over the 2011 numbers.
The 2013 TELL Maryland Survey Results are now available. The survey asked Maryland public school teachers and administrators their thoughts about school leadership, student conduct, and other factors key to building stronger classrooms. Data compiled through the survey will help guide school improvement work over the next two years.
What have we learned? We know that our schools have strong leadership conditions present. The vast majority of our teachers say their performance in the classroom has been fairly assessed by administrators, and that percentage is on the rise. Teachers also tell us that feedback from principals is making them better in the classroom. The survey also gives our schools some important information about how we can improve. Our teachers want more time to teach, plan, and collaborate. It is in our best interest—and the best interest of our children—to find ways to make that happen.
Taken together, Maryland schools can be very proud of these results. They tell a story about a very good system of schools on its way to becoming even better. The results also let us know where enhancements can be made, right down to the school level. This information will be used to help us grow and improve in the coming months.
We know that consistent collaboration is key in our path forward. Maryland schools are fully implementing the new Common Core State Standards in the fall. Improved assessments will follow a year later. Maryland also is instituting a new system for educator professional development, which is designed to make our highly regarded teacher and principal workforce even better. As a result, we will be conducting other surveys of educators in the future to ensure the State has as much input as possible as we move forward.
By working together, we can make our #1 in the nation public schools even better. We are preparing graduates to succeed in the college classroom and on the job. Our students and their families deserve nothing less.