Tag Archives: TELLTexas

TELL Texas survey results, new charter schools and ACT testing news from TEA

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced today the results of the state’s first survey of working conditions in Texas public schools. The Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Texas Survey was launched in April in response to a 2013 bill passed by the Texas Legislature and strongly supported by ATPE. The law requires the state to survey teachers and other educators biennially about teaching and learning conditions in their schools.

Statewide, 83,103 teachers participated in the anonymous survey this spring. Most educators who took the survey described their schools as good places to work and learn and expressed a desire to continue teaching in the same school. Many teachers reported an interest in receiving more training in closing achievement gaps and differentiating instruction.

Most of the state’s largest school districts had response rates that were too low to generate unique reports about the conditions within their districts. To preserve anonymity and validity of the survey, campuses and districts were required to meet a minimum response rate of at least 50 percent of their staff and a minimum of five teachers in order to generate reports specific to each campus or district. However, all responses submitted were counted as part of the statewide report, regardless of each survey respondent’s district or campus response rate.

In a press release today, ATPE Executive Director Gary Godsey noted that there were some drawbacks with the timing of the state’s survey this year. The TELL Texas survey began in April during the same time that STAAR tests were being administered. Also, not all school administrators complied with state instructions to supply all of their certified professional staff with survey information and anonymous codes to access the online survey.

ATPE and all of the state’s major teacher organizations signed on as partner organizations for the TELL Texas survey and worked to help TEA notify educators about the survey and encourage their participation. Associations representing the state’s school boards and administrators declined invitations to become partners in the effort and voiced objections to some aspects of the survey. As Godsey said in today’s press release, “The TELL Texas Survey can be an extremely valuable tool for school leaders to use in their planning. If all school districts and administrators will support and promote the survey next time, we will be able to obtain more beneficial data.”

Visit TELLTexas.org to view the results of the 2014 survey. Read ATPE’s complete press release here, and read TEA’s press release here.


Also today, TEA announced that Commissioner of Education Michael Williams has approved the operation of five new charter schools in Texas: Beta Academy (Houston), High Point Academy (Fort Worth), Ki Charter Academy (San Marcos), The Excel Center (Austin) and Trinity Environmental Academy (Dallas). Five applicants were denied charters. The commissioner formally notified the State Board of Education (SBOE) of his decisions, which the board has authority to veto.


Finally, the agency announced today that a record number of Texas students have taken the ACT college admission test. Among the 2014 graduating class, 116,547 students in Texas took the ACT (up by more than 6,700 students from 2013). In addition, 45,717 Hispanic students took the ACT in 2014, which represents more than double the rate of students who took the ACT nationally. Read TEA’s press release on ACT results here.

TELL Texas survey ends tonight at midnight

TELL TX I did sticker

There are still a few hours left to take the important TELL Texas working conditions survey. The state’s teaching and learning survey ends at midnight tonight, June 6.

Visit TELLTexas.org or call (800) 310-2964 if you still need an access code. Thank you to all the educators who’ve participated in the survey these last few weeks and helped us raise awareness of it among other teachers. 

Survey results will be calculated over the summer, and we will provide updates on Teach the Vote as soon as those reports are made available to the public. If your campus (or district) did not reach the minimum 50 percent response rate, it will not receive a campus (or district) report. However, all survey responses will be counted for purposes of statewide reporting.

ATPE thanks the 82,000+ teachers who supported TELL Texas by taking the survey!

Only one more day to TELL Texas! Has your ISD passed the 50 percent mark?

Did you take the TELL Texas survey yet?

TELL TX I did sticker

Spread the word about TELL Texas! Add our “I DID” sticker to your social media posts after you complete the survey.

The TELL Texas school working conditions survey will close tomorrow.

Don’t miss the June 6 deadline and your chance to tell policymakers about the teaching and learning conditions in your school.

The results of this survey will help illustrate teachers’ greatest areas of need, whether it’s reducing paperwork, improving technology, receiving professional development relating to specific topics, spending less time preparing students for state tests or any other priority you want the legislature to focus on next session.

Remember: Campuses and districts that do not achieve a response rate of at least 50 percent will not receive a report with survey results for their campus or district. However, all individual responses, even from educators in campuses or districts that fail to reach the 50 percent threshold before the deadline, will still be included in statewide results.

Is your district on the cusp?

As of lunchtime today, these districts only needed one more person to take the TELL Texas survey in order to reach the minimum 50 percent threshold required to receive a report with survey results for their district:

AVERY ISD
BROOKELAND ISD
BUCKHOLTS ISD
CHILLICOTHE ISD
DIME BOX ISD
DIVIDE ISD
RAMIREZ CSD
SAN VICENTE ISD
SPRING CREEK ISD

The school districts listed below are also extremely close to reaching the minimum participation needed to receive a TELL Texas survey report. They only need between two and five more people to take the survey in order to hit the 50 percent threshold necessary for reporting:

ABBOTT ISD
ALBA-GOLDEN ISD
ARCHER CITY ISD
AUSTWELL-TIVOLI ISD
AVALON ISD
BELLS ISD
BLUE RIDGE ISD
BRYSON ISD
BURKEVILLE ISD
CHEROKEE ISD
COMSTOCK ISD
CRANFILLS GAP ISD
DARROUZETT ISD
DELL CITY ISD
DOSS CONSOLIDATED CSD
ECTOR ISD
ETOILE ISD
EXCELSIOR ISD
EZZELL ISD
GHOLSON ISD
GRANDVIEW-HOPKINS ISD
GRANGER ISD
HEDLEY ISD
IOLA ISD
ITALY ISD
KARNACK ISD
KNOX CITY-O’BRIEN CISD
LA GLORIA ISD
LACKLAND ISD
LEARY ISD
LEGGETT ISD
MALONE ISD
MALTA ISD
MARATHON ISD
MIDWAY ISD
MORAN ISD
NAZARETH ISD
NEW WAVERLY ISD
NORTHSIDE ISD VERNON
PAWNEE ISD
RED LICK ISD
ROCKSPRINGS ISD
ROSCOE COLLEGIATE ISD
SAVOY ISD
SHELBYVILLE ISD
SIVELLS BEND ISD
TEXHOMA ISD
THREE WAY ISD
THROCKMORTON ISD
TORNILLO ISD
TRINIDAD ISD
TROUP ISD
UTOPIA ISD
WALNUT BEND ISD
WESTHOFF ISD
WINDTHORST ISD
WOODSON ISD

Additionally, the following school districts have reached at least 45 percent participation but had not yet reached the minimum 50 percent threshold as of lunchtime today:

ARANSAS PASS ISD
AVERY ISD
BASTROP ISD
BROOKELAND ISD
BUCKHOLTS ISD
BURKEVILLE ISD
CHILLICOTHE ISD
COLORADO ISD
DIME BOX ISD
FORNEY ISD
LA JOYA ISD
LACKLAND ISD
LUBBOCK ISD
MARSHALL ISD
MCALLEN ISD
NEW WAVERLY ISD
RANCH ACADEMY
RED OAK ISD
ROCKSPRINGS ISD
SHELBYVILLE ISD
THROCKMORTON ISD
TORNILLO ISD
TROUP ISD

Finally, among medium to large school districts, here are a few that definitely still have the potential to reach the minimum 50 percent participation threshold if enough teachers take the TELL Texas survey today or tomorrow:

BASTROP ISD
BURLESON ISD
CLEBURNE ISD
FORNEY ISD
LA JOYA ISD
LUBBOCK ISD
MARSHALL ISD
MCALLEN ISD
MOUNT PLEASANT ISD

You could be the teacher who pushes these districts over the 50 percent mark, so please take a few minutes out of your day to take the anonymous TELL Texas survey today or tomorrow. Thank you for your help!

Did you TELL Texas yet? Only two days left!

We’ll keep this short. The school working conditions survey, TELL Texas, ends Friday, June 6. Response rates for many districts and campuses remain low—too low, in fact, for them to receive survey results unless they hit the 50 percent participation mark by Friday.

If you want legislators to understand more about what it’s like to teach in our state and what your school’s specific needs are, you must TELL Texas! Take 20-25 minutes out of your day to complete the survey and encourage fellow educators to do the same. Place our “I DID!” TELL Texas graphic in your social media posts, too.

TELL TX I did sticker

If you did not receive an access code or misplaced your original code, visit TELLTexas.org or call (800) 310-2964 to request a new one today.

Let’s TELL Texas what kind of support public educators really need by taking the survey. It’s simple, anonymous and important!

Three days left to “TELL Texas” about your school’s working conditions!

The state’s first-ever working conditions survey, TELL Texas, ends Friday, June 6. That will be teachers’ last chance to participate in this statewide survey, which was mandated by the Legislature last year at the request of all of the state’s major teacher organizations.

ATPE urges all teachers to take the anonymous survey, which will help us learn more about teaching and learning conditions on every public school campus in Texas. But unless 50 percent of the teachers on your campus participate, your school will not receive results from this important survey. Click here to look up the current response rates of teachers on your campus and district to see if your school is on track to achieving at least 50 percent participation by Friday.

TELL TX I did sticker

Did you take the TELL Texas survey already? If so, you are one of more than 81,000 educators in Texas who’ve taken the survey as of today, and we thank you! Please let others know about Friday’s deadline, and help us maximize participation and reach the 50 percent threshold in every school district. We invite you to use our TELL Texas “I DID!” virtual sticker on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. 

For those educators who have not yet taken the survey, if you need an access code please visit TELLTexas.org or call (800) 310-2964 to request one.

Thank you for sharing your vital feedback on school working conditions.

Only four more days to TELL Texas about working conditions at your school!

Friday, June 6, is the last day for teachers to take the state’s TELL Texas survey about teaching and learning conditions on their campuses. ATPE strongly encourages all teachers to participate in the survey, which is anonymous. Sharing your feedback about conditions on your campus will help ATPE advocate on your behalf next legislative session. It takes about 20-25 minutes to complete the survey, but it’s well worth your time since this is your opportunity to anonymously provide feedback about the needs of teachers on your campus.

At the request of ATPE and other educator groups, the legislature mandated that this survey be conducted statewide, which means that school districts cannot “opt out” of participating in TELL Texas. In other words, your principal or superintendent cannot prevent you from participating in the survey if you choose, and your individual responses cannot be traced back to you since the survey is anonymous. Visit TELLTexas.org or call 1-800-310-2964 to obtain an access code for the survey. (Access codes serve to identify your campus, but cannot be used to identify individual survey respondents.)

TELL TX I did sticker

 

If you’ve already taken the TELL Texas survey, help us spread the word to other educators by using this virtual sticker created by ATPE!

 

 

Right-click on the image to save it to your computer or copy and paste it into your social media posts. Share the image on your Facebook page and with your friends on Instagram. You can also add the image to a tweet and remind your Twitter followers who are fellow teachers to take the survey by Friday.

Don’t miss your chance. TELL Texas right now what it’s like to be a teacher. Your voice is important and your feedback is greatly appreciated!

TELL Texas survey extended through June 6

Good news! Educators throughout Texas are now able to provide feedback on the working conditions at their campuses through June 6. The TELL Texas survey—which was originally scheduled to close on May 31—has been extended, allowing educators an additional week to participate and provide the state with valuable information.

TELL Texas is a statewide survey in which all certified professional educators working in Texas schools are entitled to participate. The survey is completely anonymous and takes approximately 25 minutes to complete. ATPE has long encouraged the state to administer such a survey and now we are strongly encouraging educators throughout the state to participate. The information collected through the survey—information such as class sizes, availability of planning time, access to technology and other resources, and parental involvement—will result in valuable data with which educators can encourage meaningful support of our public schools.

By now all educators should have received anonymous access codes from campus principals. For those who have not yet received an access code, one can request this information via www.telltexas.org or by calling the TELL Texas help desk at 800-310-2964 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

We hope you will participate if you have not already, and we encourage you to spread the word among your colleagues!

ATPE expresses concern over teacher evaluation plans during House committee hearing

The House Public Education Committee held an interim hearing yesterday, May 14, to discuss the state’s new plans for teacher and principal evaluations and other issues relating to teacher quality. The Speaker of the House asked the committee to study these issues during the interim.

Yesterday’s hearing consisted of four panels of invited witnesses, followed by public testimony from several stakeholders, including ATPE member Stephanie Stoebe. Stoebe served on a steering committee of teachers appointed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to give feedback on the new evaluation system and proposed teaching standards. Read more about the steering committee’s work and the state’s plans for the new evaluation system in the upcoming Summer 2014 issue of ATPE News.

The first panel of invited witnesses yesterday consisted of teachers and principals who shared their experiences with innovative instructional practices, such as using flipped classrooms. For the second panel, former Commissioner of Education Jim Nelson appeared on behalf of the Texas Teaching Commission. He explained the commission’s 2012 study of issues relating to the teaching profession and noted that most of the time was spent discussing teacher evaluation and compensation. Representatives of the state’s four largest teacher groups who initially served on the commission withdrew from it in late 2012 because they could not support directions being taken by the commission on several issues, including evaluation. Nelson testified that commission members believe student growth should make up more than 20 percent of a teacher’s evaluation.

Representatives from TEA made up the third panel. Michele Moore, Associate Commissioner for Educator Leadership and Quality, and TEA Deputy General Counsel Von Byer were there to provide updates on teacher quality initiatives and explain the new teacher and principal evaluation system developed by TEA. Legislators on the committee expressed concern regarding the timeline for implementation of the system, which calls for piloting in the 2014-15 school year and full statewide implementation in 2015. TEA staff acknowledged that without a special session, the Texas Legislature would have to change state law to require statewide implementation prior to receiving feedback from the pilot study. TEA also confirmed that the value added-portion of the new evaluation system as proposed will not even be completed until mid-June.

ATPE Governmental Relations Manager Jennifer Canaday testified as part of the fourth panel along with representatives of TCTA, Texas AFT and TSTA. All four invited witnesses stressed concern over TEA’s decision to include a value-added measure at the individual teacher level in the new evaluation plans. Each of the panelists pointed to an abundance of research suggesting VAM is an inaccurate measure of teacher performance for purposes of high-stakes employment decisions. Due to this research, Canaday conveyed that  ATPE had suggested to Commissioner of Education Michael Williams that VAM be used only at the campus level or higher for evaluation purposes, as opposed to the individual teacher or classroom level.

Canaday also explained how the design of the new evaluation system had been dictated by the terms of an NCLB waiver that Texas has been trying to secure from the U.S. Department of Education. In a letter sent to House Public Education committee members on the eve of the hearing, Commissioner Williams insisted that the NCLB waiver was not the reason for the evaluation changes. However, as Canaday explained to legislators yesterday, the federal government, through Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, has demanded that student growth make up at least 20 percent of teacher evaluations and has used the NCLB waiver process as a means of forcing states to adopt controversial reforms, such as tying teacher evaluations to test scores or adopting the Common Core national curriculum.

All members of the panel of teacher group advocates encouraged TEA to continue to negotiate with the U.S. Department of Education and seek an extended timeline in which to work. At minimum, an additional year is needed before statewide implementation so that any data or feedback from the pilot year can be incorporated and changes made where necessary. “We should tell Secretary Duncan that we are Texas and we have 5 million students and we want to get this right,” Canaday told the committee. “We need to be negotiating from a position of strength and asking for an extension of time or different parameters.” Canaday also pointed out that parents would never tolerate the use of controversial VAM methods, which she likened to “secret statistical voodoo” in some instances, to make high-stakes decisions about students, such as determining their class rank or course grades. “If VAM is not good enough for students, why are we insisting that it be used on teachers?” she asked rhetorically.

Additionally, Canaday reiterated ATPE’s belief that in order to improve the profession and better recruit and retain teachers we should raise standards to enter the profession, offer all new teachers mentoring opportunities, pay teachers more professionally and give them career advancement opportunities that don’t necessarily require them to leave the classroom. She also told members about the TELL Texas survey on teachers’ working conditions, which is taking place now and has the potential to generate valuable data that can assist us with teacher retention efforts and improving student achievement without the use of test scores. Canaday urged legislators on the committee to follow up with school leaders back in their districts to encourage full participation in the TELL Texas survey, which ends May 31.

View an archived broadcast of the full hearing here.

Educators: It’s time to “TELL Texas” about your working conditions

The TELL (Teaching Empowering Leading and Learning) Texas survey has been open for two and a half weeks, and more than 42,000 educators have already shared their input on working conditions in their schools. ATPE strongly encourages all educators to take the survey before it closes May 31.

TELLTX14_rrmap_04242014

Percentages of educators responding to the TELL Texas survey by school district as of April 24.

School working conditions have a profound impact on teacher retention rates and student achievement. By gathering statewide data on the environment in which teachers are working and students are learning, we will be better equipped to convince the Legislature to provide resources to schools where and how they are needed the most.

Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams has asked that all school principals distribute information about the survey to teachers by May 1. If you do not receive a letter with the survey details, please feel free to contact the TELL Texas help desk via the website, www.TELLtexas.org, to request an access code.

Remember that the survey is anonymous! The access code you use cannot be linked back to you individually and merely serves to identify the campus on which you work.

Don’t miss your chance to be heard. Visit www.TELLtexas.org today!

Updated TellTx 14 flyer