By Abby Spegman

The Bulletin

Fewer than half of Oregon teachers say their class sizes are such that they have enough time to help all students, according to a survey of 18,200 Oregon educators earlier this year.

Preliminary results from the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning — or TELL — survey were released last week.

Among them: 46 percent said they had sufficient instructional time to meet the needs of all students; 60 percent said teachers can focus on educating students with minimal interruptions; and 62 percent said they had time to collaborate with colleagues.

The survey was voluntary and had a 54 percent response rate. Many of the state’s smallest districts did not participate, while larger districts had higher participation rates.

The TELL survey was first given in 2014 and administered again this spring by the state’s Chief Education Office and Department of Education and groups representing teachers, administrators and school boards.

Compared with 2014, more teachers reported issues with managing student conduct and concerns that state test results were not available in time to affect what they’re doing in the classroom.

Last year, the state gave the Smarter Balanced test for English language arts and math in the spring, but results came out in September. Sixty-nine percent said that was too late.

Results from Central Oregon districts generally mirrored statewide results.

In Bend-La Pine Schools, where 70 percent responded to the survey, teachers said class sizes were a concern. Last year the district’s median class size was 26.

“That’s one that continues to be problematic and really comes down to funding,” said Don Stearns, president of the Bend Education Association, the local teachers union. “It costs money to hire more teachers. Finding money to hire more teachers, that’s the only way I can think of to get those numbers down.”

But it wasn’t all bad news. Statewide, teachers reported improvements in professional development, opportunities for teacher leadership and availability of technology. Overall, 85 percent of teachers said their school was “a good place to work and learn.”

The results may be useful for districts to gauge how their teachers feel compared with other districts and the state average. In Crook County, for instance, fewer teachers reported concerns with class sizes, and Redmond teachers reported above-average support from school leaders.

In Jefferson County School District, meanwhile, fewer teachers than two years ago reported parents knew what was going on in school and were involved in making decisions there.

In Bend-La Pine, which will not administer another large-scale teacher survey this year, TELL results will be used to develop school-improvement plans, Stearns said, noting the district is working on a similar survey for its classified staff.

For more survey results, go to

— Reporter: 541-617-7837,