Earlier this week, I filled out a stakeholder survey for the strategic planning committee of my local school district and sent it back in my kid’s backpack.
I was put off by the survey.
In one question it asked how I evaluate the performance of the school district. I could choose from things like test score rankings and building maintenance. Unfortunately, I had to write-in the answers I thought were obvious:
- What I think of my kid’s teachers – their experience level, what other parents have to say about them and what I think based on my meetings and how well my kid is learning and what my kid had to say about them.
- The reputation of the school district among parents. When you say, “my kid goes to [blank] [blank] schools”, what response do you generally get? I generally get, “oh, that’s a great district.” This is the same method many of us use to find a good doctor, dentist, lawyer, lawn service, real estate agent and so on. It works there, why wouldn’t it work in education?
- How I perceive my kid to be progressing.
I was then disappointed when the survey asked if I think the school district should be actively involved in attracting businesses to the district in order to increase its tax base.
My answer: No. I want the school district focused on educating my child. If they provide good education, the district won’t have to worry about tax base. It’s the role of the Chamber of Commerce to try to bring in new business.
I also believe that when a school district’s tax base, or funds, come from businesses that do not have strong incentives to keep the school district performing well, this contributes to a decline in the quality of the district.
Needless to say, I was a bit concerned by the directions of the questions on the survey.
I’ll give them credit for asking. I hope others feel the way I do. Unfortunately, I know the results of such surveys can be used to be gleamed to support the strategic vision of the folks on the committee. I’m eagerly awaiting the results of the survey.