RALEIGH — The 2022 North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey saw a record response rate of nearly 92% this year, according to the results released by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction on June 1. The results show 85% of respondents agreed that their school “is a good place to work and learn.”
The results of the survey were presented to the N.C. State Board of Education on June 1. Of those taking the survey, 87% were teachers, 9% were other types of educators and principals and assistant principals each made up 2%.
“Teachers definitely wanted to have their voices heard,” Assistant Director of District and Regional Support Alessandro Montanari told the board. “Our educators really want to help us make decisions.”
Out of the 122,000 educators and staff invited to participate in the survey, 112,000 responded and a total of 2,690 schools participated in the survey. The survey is offered every two years.
Key points from the results included new questions this year related to the pandemic including topics like mental and physical health support, emotional well-being, and school safety.
Around 29% agreed that students’ needs were “somewhat more than before” and 40% agreed that those needs were “much more than before.” Some 59% of respondents said their students are six months to one year behind in learning.
When asked to list the top five issues of most concern, responses included addressing disparities in student learning (24%); school staffing shortages (15%); assessing student performance and needs (13%); social-emotional support for students (12%); health and safety of teachers and staff (9%).
With regard to safety, a question asked if certain types of problems rarely occurred at their school. Around 63% said physical conflicts among students rarely occurred, for vandalism, it was just over 67% and for students possessing weapons, it was just over 86%.
Only just over 60% agreed that bullying was not a problem at their school, but over 85% said students felt comfortable reporting bullying to a staff member or teacher.
A vast majority, 95%, agreed that their school has a plan and procedures in place for responding to an active shooter or lock-down situations. Additionally, 96% agreed with the statement: “Teachers in this school know what to do if there is an emergency, natural disaster (tornado, flood) or a dangerous situation.”
To review the results of the survey, visit www.nctwcs.org.
The same day the working conditions survey results were released, the N.C. House Education Committee met to hear about school safety and an app most of the state’s districts use to anonymously report concerns.
Karen Fairley, Executive Director of the NC Center for Safer Schools, gave a presentation to lawmakers that covered a number of areas including critical incident training, a focus on bullying, surveys sent to School Resource Officers, and an update of tip statistics received by the Say Something app.
According to Fairley’s presentation, 98 of the state’s 115 school districts and 145 charter schools are actively using Say Something as of April 28 of this year.
From Nov. 4, 2019, to 30 June 2020, some 3,944 tips were received; Bullying/Cyber Bullying – 652, Cutting/Self-Harm – 492, Suicide/Suicide Ideation – 330, Depression/Anxiety – 316, and Drug Use/Distribution with 240.
During the pandemic, from Aug. 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, around 1,674 tips came in. The breakdown for that time period show Bullying/Cyber Bullying – 248, Suicide/Suicide Ideation – 236, Depression/Anxiety – 209, Cutting/Self-Harm- 193, and Drug Use/Distribution with 94.
“Life Safety Tips” was a focus point in Fairley’s presentation. These types of tips are those that are deemed credible.
The pre-pandemic time frame of Nov. 4, 2019, to 30 June 30, 2020, garnered a total of 540 such tips. The breakdown of the 540 includes Suicide/Suicide Ideation with 132, Planned School Attack had 132 reports, Cutting/Self-Harm – 101, Depression/Anxiety – 37, and Weapon(s) with 34.
During COVID when schools were largely closed, Life Safety Tips dropped, to 312. The top tip was still Suicide/Suicide Ideation, with 139 reports received.
Once schools reopened in full this past school year, tips overall surged to 7,812 between Aug. 1, 2021, and May of 2022. The top reported tip was Bullying/Cyber Bullying with 1328 tips, followed by Cutting/Self-Harm – 625, Drug Use/Distribution – 603, Suicide/Suicide Ideation – 513, and Planned School Attack with 431.
Similarly, Life Safety Tips from Aug. 1, 2021, to May 21, 2022, totaled 907. The top reported item was Planned School Attack with 254 reports. Rounding out the rest of the list was Suicide/Suicide Ideation – 185, Cutting/Self-Harm – 162. Weapon(s) – 101, and Intent to Harm Someone at 6.