Survey: Oregon Teachers Desperate for Smaller Class Sizes

Results for the most comprehensive survey ever given to Oregon teachers were released on Wednesday, with the No. 1 concern of teachers being that class sizes are too large to allow them to meet the needs of every student.

The survey was completed by more than 19,000 teachers statewide, and 76% of those polled said that students are not being given the proper teaching conditions and are therefore being shortchanged writes Betsy Hammond, reporter for The Oregonian.

Hanna Vaandering, president of the Oregon Education Association was startled that three-fourths of responding teachers were finding it tough to help all children in their overcrowded classrooms.

"It's a call to action," she said. "If educators across this state don't believe they are able to meet the needs of all their students, then we have got to do something. This is a number we should take to heart and move on."

Other results that pointed out that Oregon students do not have adequate learning environments included:

  • 42% of teachers polled said they lacked sufficient technology in the classroom.
  • 43% of teachers polled said they lacked adequate instructional materials.
  • 37% of teachers polled said they lacked non-instructional time.

The survey, known as Teaching, Empowering, Leading, Learning (TELL) was given due to a request by the Oregon Department of Education, the teachers' union, and the state school administrators group. The New Teachers Center, a pro-teacher support group administered the survey, which has been given in 17 states in the last 10 years.

Some positives that were revealed in the TELL survey include:

  • Oregon teachers, by a large percentage, make their students work hard.
  • Teacher evaluations were considered to be objective by 83% of teachers taking the survey.
  • A large majority of teachers polled said that students understood the conduct expectations of the school.
  • A majority of teachers felt that have safe working conditions.
  • Of those surveyed, 81% feel they have the administration's support in the area of classroom discipline.
  • Of those surveyed, 75% reported that teachers were consistent when enforcing behavior expectations.

OPB TV in Portland added that teachers felt they were viewed as education leaders; that their schools foster innovation; and that campuses are safe.

Some educators feel that the teachers have created, through their answers on the survey, an outline for policy decisions so that students will be better served. Others have said that the answers on the survey are complex and time will be needed to analyze and discuss the results.

The survey can be viewed in full here. The core set of questions posed to teachers in order to address these teaching conditions were included under the following categories:

  • New Teacher Support
  • Instructional Practices & Support
  • Managing Student Conduct
  • School Leadership
  • Teacher Leadership
  • Community Engagement & Support
  • Use of Time
  • Professional Development
  • Facilities and Resources
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