Nashville/ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 02, 2024
Tennessee Education Department Launches 2024 Survey for Teachers to Influence State PoliciesSource: Facebook/Tennessee Department of Education

The teachers of Tennessee have been called to the podium, metaphorically speaking. Today, the Tennessee Department of Education, in partnership with the Vanderbilt University's Tennessee Education Research Alliance (TERA), kicked off the 2024 Tennessee Educator Survey, as per an announcement on the state's education website. It’s that time of year where the state's teachers, administrators, and other certified school workers get a chance to voice their insights and concerns, potentially steering the course of state education policies and approaches.

An email should be landing in educators' inboxes with a link to the survey, designed to poke and prod about the daily experiences shaping Tennessee's educational landscape. Participation is not mandatory—it's a voluntary call to action that will be kept under wraps to protect individual privacy. The survey window is from today till April 26th. And to sweetened the deal, schools with a whopping 90% or more educators chiming in might just snag a $5,000 staff appreciation grant.

Commissioner of Education Lizzette Reynolds told the department's website, “The Tennessee Educator Survey is such a valuable tool to hear directly from those who are instructing and supporting Tennessee students every day—our educators—and I am eager to hear your thoughts and feedback.” She pressed educators to take part, underscoring the potential impact of their shared experiences on the shape of education in the Volunteer State.

Last year, the survey found traction with more than half of the state's teachers laying bare their thoughts, flagging issues like learning loss recovery and teacher satisfaction. Piling onto this year's questionnaire are new sections delving into the meaty topics of the TISA funding formula and the state's freshly-minted School Letter Grades grading system. Laura Booker, the Executive Director of TERA, elaborated on the importance of educator participation, stating, "Educator responses on items about their commitment to teaching, future plans, experiences about school leadership, and student mental health supports are also key to ongoing research projects we are doing in partnership with the state," in a statement to the education department's website.

Districts and schools that rally at least a 45% participation rate are promised a peek at the survey results, allowing them to tailor their own local strategies and policies. The stakes are high, but so are the opportunities for teachers to drive change from the classroom to the Capitol.