A survey by a group of education stakeholders and spearheaded by University of New Mexico Provost Chaouki Abdallah is attempting to find out how New Mexico teachers feel about their profession and the climate in which they work.
Abdallah pulled the group supporting the survey together in search of ideas for improving the university’s College of Education, but the information gleaned will be available and important to all of New Mexico’s education policy leaders. The group includes the state Public Education Department, the New Mexico Coalition of Educational Leaders, the New Mexico School Boards Association, the National Education Association of New Mexico, the New Mexico Association of Secondary School Principals, the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico and the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.
“This is a unique opportunity to bring all education partners together to help pave the path forward for our next generation of education practitioners,” Abdallah said. “The results of the statewide survey will inform how we can best prepare classroom teachers and school leaders.”
But response to the TELL (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning) survey has been tepid. Statewide, as of Thursday, just 1,766 of 32,528 licensed teachers, or 5.44 percent, had responded. That is disappointing, especially since responses are anonymous. And a participation rate of at least 50 percent is needed for a school to be considered statistically valid.
Part of the problem seems to have been getting the word out and providing codes so teachers can fill out the online survey. Codes are now available at tellnewmexico.org and also at schools. And the survey period, which is from Jan. 27 to Feb. 21, may be extended.
School reform continues to dominate political debate in New Mexico. As the Legislature considers reforms this session, teachers have an opportunity to make their voices heard in another meaningful way. And the survey is one project that teachers’ unions, the PED and superintendents all agree is valuable.
So, teachers, let New Mexico know what you think about education and what can be done to improve it.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.