Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published March 04, 2010



Survey indicates direct link between working conditions and student achievement


ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 4, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley, joined by state and local education officials, principals and teachers, today unveiled the results of the first ever statewide survey <>  of Maryland educators, an initiative titled “TELL Maryland.”  The survey, championed by Governor O’Malley, serves as a unique opportunity to gather information about school conditions, teacher satisfaction, and opportunities for improvement in the teaching and learning environments throughout the State.  More than 43,000 educators took advantage of the survey, providing school-level data on more than 1,000 schools throughout Maryland.


“We know the recruitment and retention of quality, dedicated teachers has a direct impact on student achievement,” said Governor O’Malley.  “This data has the potential for both dramatic and subtle improvements in teaching and learning environments throughout Maryland, each with its own unique impact on student achievement.  We honor our educators by listening to them, by including them in the process, and by engaging them so that we may continue to build upon our progress as the number one public school system in America.”


The “TELL Maryland” survey stands for Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning.  The survey was a month-long initiative in March 2009, available to all licensed educators in Maryland public schools, including pre-K–12 classroom teachers, vocational-technical educators, and special area teachers.  All certified personnel were included in the confidential survey, including guidance counselors, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and special education team leaders.  School-based administrators including principals and assistant principals were also included in the surveyed audience, with questions relating specifically to qualities such as working conditions, teacher and principal support, school leadership, community support, and professional development.


Data from the survey, including school-level results, are available at <> .


Preliminary results were shared with schools in May of last year, and teachers and principals have already begun implementing many of the actions indicated as needed by the survey results.


“While test scores and other achievement data, state and national awards, etc. help to paint one picture of your school, the perception data helps to provide another perspective,” said Tom Evans, Principal of Eastern School of Technology in Baltimore County.  “I would encourage principals to use the TELL Maryland data to begin conversations and to dig a little deeper into how to make your school even better.”


Highlights from the survey results include:



    * Educators are generally positive about teaching in Maryland. Three-quarters of survey respondents agree that their school is a good place to work and learn, and four-fifths of teachers indicate they want to remain teaching in their current position. Nine out of 10 educators believe the faculty is committed to helping every student learn. Educators were positive about community engagement, facilities and resources and many aspects of professional development.



    * Teacher engagement in decision making was consistently a significant influence on school level student performance. Teacher engagement in decision making exerted roughly the same influence on performance on secondary mathematics as the percentage of teachers working within their licensure area.  About six out of 10 Maryland educators agree that teachers are integrally involved in decision making and that effective processes exist for making group decisions. However, many educators do not feel empowered in certain areas. For example, educators report that teachers play a small role, or no role at all, in selecting his or her school’s new teachers (79 percent), or in deciding how the school budget will be spent (71 percent). Levels of community engagement and perceptions of Student Conduct/Safety were also significant in explaining performance at the elementary school level.



    * School leadership was the most important condition affecting teachers’ willingness to remain teaching at their school.  Teachers who indicated that they plan to remain teaching in their school were twice as likely to agree they work in trusting and supportive environments.  Leadership, decision making, professional development and student conduct were significant in explaining teachers’ future employment plans at the elementary level. At the middle school level, student conduct and community engagement were the most significant factors contributing to employment plans. While no single teaching condition was significant at the high school level, teaching condition variables in total explained 20 percent of differences in expected teacher retention rates across Maryland high schools.



    * Principals are positive about most aspects of the support they receive from districts.  Most principals in the state are positive about the resources they have available, their engagement in district-level decision making and their professional development. Principals who report more positive leadership conditions are better able to provide teaching and leading conditions for their faculty in key areas. One area where concerns were noted by Maryland principals was in the area of time. Only half of principals agree that they have sufficient time to provide instructional leadership to their faculty.



The purpose of the survey is to support sound educational policies and practices based on the views of teachers, principals, and other certified educators in Maryland’s public schools.  The TELL Maryland survey is supported by a coalition of education organizations, and was administered by the New Teacher Center at the University of California at Santa Cruz, a national organization dedicated to supporting the development of a high-quality teaching force.  


Over the past 3 years, Governor O'Malley has provided $21.7 billion for K-12 education, including a record $5.7 billion proposed investment for FY11.  This is an increase of $6.3 billion, or 41% more than was provided over the previous four years.  And for the first time ever, Maryland will have invested more than $1.2 billion in school construction funding over four years, including $250 million proposed for FY 2011.  In early January, Education Week Magazine reaffirmed its ranking of Maryland’s public schools number one in the nation.  And the College Board ranked Maryland’s high schools number one in the national for Advanced Placement participation and achievement for the second year in a row.


Data from the survey, including school-level results, are available at <> .