Survey reveals Wake teachers not happy with board

October 14, 2010 5:21:53 PM PDT
Hundreds of teachers in Wake County have answered some detailed questions in a survey about the school system and the job the school board is currently doing.Most of the teachers surveyed say they have a positive impression of their schools and the Wake County public school system in general. However, when the questions turned to the board, the answers were less favorable.

All the stories and controversy surrounding the Wake County school board's actions in recent months got the president of the Wake North Carolina Association of Educators thinking.

"It was a matter of, what do the teachers think and not really having heard that voice," Wake NCAE President Tama Bouncer said.

So Bouncer says the union, which represents close to 5,000 teachers in Wake County, teamed up with the National Education Association to develop questions for a telephone survey.

In early September, an independent firm surveyed 501 NEA members in Wake County.

The results from 72 percent of teachers surveyed said they felt public schools in Wake County are on the wrong track and 81 percent had a negative or very negative general impression of the school board.

"That reflects what is, what the thinking is in the schools, as far as the teachers are concerned," Bouncer said.

About 47 percent of teachers surveyed felt the biggest problem facing Wake County public schools was the new policy on assigning students. Eighty-one percent also disagreed or strongly disagreed with the board's decision to end the socio-economic diversity policy.

Most teachers say they feel diverse schools are the better choice for academic and social success.

Board member John Tedesco tells ABC11 Eyewitness News that he takes issue with those numbers and the survey itself.

"Thousands of our teachers don't believe in their agenda," he said.

Tedesco is referring to the closest thing teachers have to a union in North Carolina, the teachers association, which commissioned the survey.

"Of their members, they surveyed a few of their members, less than 10 percent of their own members, with some surveys that had some leading questions," Tedesco said.

The survey was taken before Wake board vice-chair Debra Goldman put the brakes on the development of a zone-based assignment policy -- a move Bouncer says was well-received by teachers.

"It's more of a positive reaction to what was done, or the undoing of it," Goldman said.

Bouncer says she plans to share the survey results with the school board next month. She says she hopes the board will take them into consideration as they move forward.

"I would really like them to take them [results] into consideration because the teachers are working directly with the students," Bouncer said.

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