Thursday, August 27, 2009

But What Do the Parents Think?

I was heartened to read the headline "New Poll Shows N.O. Voters Like Changes in City's School System" this morning. I was even more pleased to read in the article:
The group says 74 percent of those polled said they hope leaders continue with the changes they've made in the school system.(T-P 8/27/09)
I really do hate to piss in anyone's cornflakes, especially since hope and satisfaction are rare in this town, and the opinion of voters DO reflect some truth, but this was not a survey of parents with children in these schools. So really, this is nice to know, but it's hardly solid evidence of how good our schools are.

That's when I wondered whether a survey of parents of schoolchildren would produce similar numbers. I went to the LA Dept. of Education website which has a plethora of performance data, but it's all test scores, and technology surveys, and every "accountability" measure you could think of -- except parent and student satisfaction surveys. At least not that I could find. Just to be sure, I called the Division of Standards, Assessments, and Accountability in Baton Rouge and asked the nice lady who answered if she knew of any state evaluations of parent and student satisfaction with their schools. She said not that she knew of.

That was by no means a thorough investigation (I do have a day job, people), but enough to indicate to me that this very important piece of information -- what the parents and students experiencing the changes in our schools think of them -- either doesn't exist or is nowhere as easy to find as LEAP scores and graduation rates.

I'm hoping someone tells me that I'm wrong and points me in the right direction.

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