KY leaders want a piece of every teacher's mind

Louisville, KY - By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) – In light of recently-released statewide test scores that left a lot to be desired, Governor Steve Beshear and other education leaders officially signed up for a new program they hope will turn things around in the state's schools.

It's called the TELL survey – teaching, empowering, leading, and learning.  It seeks feedback from every teacher on a variety of topics.

"Within the last three years, Kentucky has intensified its efforts to reform, re-energize and reinvigorate its education reform," said Governor Beshear.

That includes several initiatives, including the development of turnaround strategies for struggling schools.  That's been a big deal after last week's unveiling of dismal statewide testing results.  Teachers will be asked by an outside agency for their confidential feedback on a variety of topics.

"Our teachers are the boots on the ground so to speak.  They're honest input on a range of topics is essential as we work to transform Kentucky's educational system," Governor Beshear said.

The governor and other education leaders officially signed up for the teacher-feedback driven program Tuesday morning at a ceremony in the state capitol rotunda.

It begs the question - why not sign up for the teacher-feedback driven program years ago?

"Different efforts have taken place over the years, but collectively do it in this massive phase is the first time that its come up - I've been on the state board for two years and its one of those things where its time has arrived as they say," said David Karem with the Kentucky Board of Education.

Perhaps the biggest answer comes from the recently-appointed education commissioner Dr. Terry Holliday.  He helped launch the TELL program in North Carolina in 2002.  He says it wasn't long before it had a dramatic impact on state test scores.

"Absolutely goes up.  The number one impact on student learning is working conditions and principal support of teachers in the building and while merit pay is getting a lot push out there, it's not the thing that impacts student learning its teachers having resources they need," Dr. Holliday said.

Teachers will be polled across the state starting in March of 2011 and the results will be released in June of 2011.

For more information on the program, click here.

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