Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Parents think our school district is unresponsive; administrators disagree

As part of its audit of our school district’s operations, the auditing firm surveyed parents, community members, school teachers, staff, and administrators on several issues. It’s interesting to note the disparity between parents and administrators in some of the responses.

For example, half of the administrators agreed with the statement “School lunches are nutritional,” while only 37.5% disagreed. Among parents, though, only 21% agreed, while 54% disagreed.

Almost one-fifth of the parents disagreed with the statement “Overall school climate is positive and productive,” while 0% of the administrators disagreed.

As for “District is responsive to the needs of the community,” 44% of parents disagreed, as compared to only 8% of administrators. Only 30% of parents agreed, compared to 64% of administrators.

The teachers as a group generally fell between the parents and the administrators – but closer to the parents.


TeacHer said...

Well, I think the results of this survey speak to the fact that administrators are very out of touch (generally). It has been my experience that many guidance counselors are out of touch, too. It's not really their fault - both counselors and administrators only see teachers and students in very specific circumstances. But what I don't understand is why they don't take the concerns of parents and teachers more seriously. Obviously, it's impossible to make everyone happy all the time, but the wide disparity here in satisfaction between parents and administrators should serve as evidence that something needs to be done.

Hienuri Kayleuetski said...

Someone should make all of the school administrators eat lunch with the kids at some stage or another. Maybe that'll make them change their minds. Especially if they're also subject to the same punishments as these kids during their visits.

KD said...

1) I think the district has a very long culture of not being responsive to the needs to the public including former school board members and one present school board member. I could write here about some of the experiences we had with our oldest child in her first few years at school, and the lack of response/action at every level, but I don't want to take over the blog. I will say that I don't think one should have to go through a formal complaint process to get any sort of acknowledgement.

2)Given the lack of action on the school lunch issue, it seems like this culture continues.

3)As for Heinuri's comments, I'm sure if the administrators ate lunch with the kids it would be a highly staged event...I doubt full size adults would be expected to be smashed against each other.

FedUpMom said...

Much as I hate to use a business analogy, here it comes. How long would a business survive if most of the customers thought the product was lousy?

Who cares what the administrators think about the district? The district isn't run for their benefit, but for the benefit of the kids, as overseen by the parents.

Chris said...

TeacHer – That’s an interesting point about guidance counselors. I’ve been surprised to see how much the guidance counselors resemble administrators more than they do teachers. Ironically, the guidance counselors seem to have been tasked with implementing the programs that are most indoctrinatory and disrespectful of the kids – such as PBIS, Character Counts, and this.

Hienuri – We can dream.

KD – I hear you. (By the way, I’d certainly be interested in hearing some of those stories about your interactions with the school board, if you ever want to post them.) One of the hardest things for me to get my head around here is how reluctant anyone is to intervene in what goes on in the schools – even school board members!

One example: When I complained about Hoover’s use of candy as a reward for good behavior, the superintendent sent out an email to district staff reminding them of the board’s policy prohibiting the practice. In response, as far as I can tell, absolutely nothing changed. My kids are still given candy for being “good,” and candy is still sometimes given as the weekly PBIS prize. Do I really have to bring a Board Complaint before the school will follow the board’s explicit policy?

FedUpMom – I agree. Unfortunately, the business metaphor ends up cutting the opposite way: administrators are “stakeholders” whose interests must be taken into account for their own sake.