Parents skipping education survey looks bad

-A A +A

School board seeks to increase participation rate

By Carol A. Clark

The school district is looking less than stellar in the eyes of the state with its steadily declining parent participation in the annual Quality of Education Survey.

  It came out during Thursday’s school board meeting that just 99 parents of the 3,403 students district wide took the 10-question survey posted on the Public Education Department’s Web site between April 2 and June 12 of this year.

  “It’s really bad if you don’t have parent participation,” board member Ken Johnson said.

  Assistant Superintendent Kate Thomas told the board the district try to encourage participation but fewer parents every year take the survey.

  “We did everything possible. We put it on our Web site, the site principals put it on their Web sites,” Thomas said.

  The board discussed ways to make the survey even more accessible and convenient for parents.    They spoke of possibly making it available when parents are on school campuses such as during parent-teacher conferences and perhaps placing the survey on kiosks and providing parents with  one-time passwords.

  The survey is important because it allows school districts and the PED to obtain valuable input from parents for continuous improvement and to better educate students.

  As is stands now, parents can log into the PED Web site during the April-June time frame to answer the education questions for their child’s school. The survey displays the questions in both English and Spanish and answers remain anonymous, according to the state.

  Statewide some 39,000 parents participated this year, typically checking the “agree” box in response to the 10 questions posed.

  The response choices include strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree, do not know, no opinion.

  The questions are:

• My child is safe at school;

• My child’s school building is in good repair and has sufficient space to support quality education;

• My child’s school holds high expectations for academic achievement;

• School personnel encourage me to participate in my child’s education;

• The school offers adequate access to up-to-date computers and technologies;

• School staff maintains consistent discipline, which is conducive to learning;

• My child has an adequate choice of school-sponsored extracurricular activities;

• My child’s teacher provides sufficient and appropriate information regarding my child’s academic progress;

• The school staff employs various instructional methods and strategies to meet my child’s needs; and

• My child takes responsibility for his or her learning.

  The board also discussed local surveys such as the Graduate Survey in which 26 parents of nearly 275 students participated.

  The board commented that valid results may be difficult to assess with such poor participation.

  “Having a biased sample is not our problem – having enough samples is our problem,” Johnson said.

  The annual Teacher Assessment Survey, Graduate Survey and other local surveys will be available

Nov. 10  through early December.

The Quality of Education Survey for 2009-2010 will open in April 2010.

 For information, access the PED Web site at: