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from gotham gazette and inside schools re the parent survey

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  • Leonie Haimson
    See below entries about the parent survey. Also great comment in the Daily Gotham : In 1938, Benito Mussolini sent a pollster out to discover how popular he
    Message 1 of 4 , May 2 1:36 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      See below entries about the parent survey.
       
      Also great comment in the Daily Gotham : "In 1938, Benito Mussolini sent a pollster out to discover how popular he was. The pollster returned and dutifully reported that Mussolini had a 99% favorable rating. When Mussolini asked why the pollster had a strange expression on his face, the pollster replied, "I'm just amazed at how often I kept running into the other 1%." 
       
      Remember, Bloomberg is spending $2 million of your money to conduct this survey.
       

      Questioning the School Questionnaire

      The Wonkster
       
      May 1st, 2007

      As any pollster knows it’s all in what you ask and how you ask it – whether you ask, “Do you favor U.S. involvement in Iraq to bring freedom and peace to the Middle East?” Or “Do you favor U.S. involvement in Iraq to plunge a country into civil war and kill untold thousands of civilians?

      Now the Bloomberg administration is getting a similar lesson. It announced yesterday it would ask 1.8 million parents, teachers and middle and high school students what they think of their “learning environment” (school those of us who don’t hang around Tweed Courthouse). The survey is part of the overall so-called accountability initiative.

      But it ran head first into the thorny issue of what to ask and who’s is accountable for what. who exactly is accountable for what. The Public School Parents blog complains the survey neglects the big issues, such as test prep and class size. Instead, they wrote in a letter to Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, the survey asks questions that ”appear to put the burden on us as parents if our children are not being adequately provided with individualized instruction.” The critics also complain that the quesitonnaire makes no effort to evaluate the people at Tweed Courthouse – who, of course, paid for the survey

      As a result some parents who participated in focus group to draft the survey, “are calling on all parents to boycott the survey, cross out the questions listed, and before sending it back, write ‘We want real parent input – as well as smaller classes, less testing, and new priorities at Tweed to deal with the real problems in our schools.’”

      (What struck this public school parent about the survey was how little of it relates to what kids actually learn in school.)

      Daily Gotham ’ focuses on a line at the bottom of the survey: “Survey responses are being collected by an external vendor, assuring the confidentiality of answers.” It writes, “Don’t you think that anybody espousing platitudes about transparency and open government would at least have the clarity of mind to say who is the external vendor we are to hold accountable for such work? Don’t you want to know how much are these “external vendors” are being paid?.”

      Apparently the mayor is not terribly interested in grading the survey itself, Asked about the complaints, he said the critics want to “subvert the system and sit around and complain and not make it any better.”

      But the survey has fans, too. The Voz Iz Neias blog, which bills itself as the voice of the city’s Orthodox Jewish community, says, “It would be a good idea for Yeshivas, and Jewish private schools to follow this idea.”

      Compiled by Gail Robinson
       
      http://www.insideschools.org/nv/NV_parent_surveys_may07.php?070501
       
      School surveys sent home this week

      As part of the new accountability system that has some parents up in arms, the Department of Education (DOE) this week is sending home surveys for parents to evaluate conditions in their child’s school. The teachers union is lauding the surveys as a chance to find out “what people really think about the schools,” but already some parents have called for a boycott.

      Parent, teacher, and student responses will be used to help the DOE grade each school; although the exact weight of the parent surveys is unclear, the three surveys together will account for 10 percent of a school’s grade. Test scores will count for 85 percent. The school grading system is a new initiative by the Department and part of the system wide reorganization.

      The parent survey asks 14 multi-part questions about topics including parent involvement, communication between school and parents, school atmosphere, and academics. It also allows parents to select the one improvement (from a list of 10 choices) they would most like to see in their child’s school; however, there is no space on the survey, which can be completed on paper or online, for open-ended comments. The surveys also have no questions about instruction for students in special education or who are classified as English language learners.

      Some parent leaders are protesting the surveys because they say their input was not taken into account when the final survey was designed, although many of them had been part of a focus group to help devise questions. In an April 28 letter to DOE officials, parent leaders wrote that they had helped formulate survey questions but that “ core issues had been apparently censored from the survey” before the final version was released. Now, Leonie Haimson, the head of Class Size Matters, and Lisa Donlan, of the District 1 parent community education council, have called on parents to return the surveys to the DOE with the questions crossed out and a personal statement written instead.

      Elementary school parents should look for the survey in their child’s backpack; surveys to middle and high school parents will be mailed to the homes. Or check online. Students in grades 6-12 will take surveys at school. The surveys are due May 18.

      --Philissa Cramer, May 1, 2007

       
       

      Leonie Haimson

      Class Size Matters

      124 Waverly Pl.

      New York, NY 10011

      212-674-7320

      leonie@...

      www.classsizematters.org

      http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/

       

      To subscribe to our newsletter, send an email to classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

       

      To contribute to Class Size Matters, please click here.

       

       
    • N. Weiner
      Bloomberg is spending $2 mil of our money on this survey because people want him to. If parents were to hold a strike -- with hundreds of thousands of
      Message 2 of 4 , May 2 7:08 PM
      • 0 Attachment
        Bloomberg is spending $2 mil of our money on this survey because
        people want him to. If parents were to hold a strike -- with hundreds
        of thousands of schoolchildren not attending school and thus messing
        with their funding -- that would cause them to sit up and listen.

        Unfortunately, people don't want to act like barbarians. They don't
        understand the fact that they are dealing with barbarians.

        Nat


        --- In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, "Leonie Haimson" <leonie@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > See below entries about the parent survey.
        >
        > Also great comment in the Daily Gotham : "In 1938, Benito Mussolini
        sent a
        > pollster out to discover how popular he was. The pollster returned and
        > dutifully reported that Mussolini had a 99% favorable rating. When
        Mussolini
        > asked why the pollster had a strange expression on his face, the
        pollster
        > replied, "I'm just amazed at how often I kept running into the other
        1%."
        >
        > Remember, Bloomberg is spending $2 million of your money to conduct this
        > survey.
        > <http://gothamgazette.com/blogs/wonkster/feed>
        > <http://gothamgazette.com/blogs/wonkster/>
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        <http://www.gothamgazette.com/blogs/wonkster/2007/05/01/questioning-the-scho
        > ol-questionnaire/> Questioning the School Questionnaire
        >
        > The Wonkster
        >
        > May 1st, 2007
        >
        >
        > As any pollster knows it's all in what you ask and how you ask it -
        whether
        > you ask, "Do you favor U.S. involvement in Iraq to bring freedom and
        peace
        > to the Middle East?" Or "Do you favor U.S. involvement in Iraq to
        plunge a
        > country into civil war and kill untold thousands of civilians?
        >
        > Now the Bloomberg administration is getting a similar lesson. It
        >
        <http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.c0935b9a57bb4ef3daf2f1c701c7
        >
        89a0/index.jsp?pageID=mayor_press_release&catID=1194&doc_name=http%3A%2F%2Fw
        >
        ww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fom%2Fhtml%2F2007a%2Fpr129-07.html&cc=unused1978&rc=1194&
        > ndi=1> announced yesterday it would ask 1.8 million parents,
        teachers and
        > middle and high school students what they think of their "learning
        > environment" (school those of us who don't hang around Tweed
        Courthouse).
        > The
        >
        <http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2007/04/parent-voice-censored-fr
        > om-parent.html> survey is part of the overall so-called
        > <http://gothamgazette.com/article/issueoftheweek/20060605/200/1874/>
        > accountability initiative.
        >
        > But it ran head first into the thorny issue of what to ask and who's is
        > accountable for what. who exactly is accountable for what. The
        >
        <http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2007/04/parent-voice-censored-fr
        > om-parent.html> Public School Parents blog complains the survey
        neglects the
        > big issues, such as test prep and class size. Instead, they wrote in a
        > <http://www.classsizematters.org/parentsurveyboycott.html> letter to
        Schools
        > Chancellor Joel Klein, the survey asks questions that "appear to put the
        > burden on us as parents if our children are not being adequately
        provided
        > with individualized instruction." The critics also complain that the
        > quesitonnaire makes no effort to evaluate the people at Tweed
        Courthouse -
        > who, of course, paid for the survey
        >
        > As a result some parents who participated in focus group to draft the
        > survey, "are calling on all parents to boycott the survey, cross out the
        > questions listed, and before sending it back, write 'We want real parent
        > input - as well as smaller classes, less testing, and new priorities at
        > Tweed to deal with the real problems in our schools.'"
        >
        > (What struck this public school parent about the survey was how
        little of it
        > relates to what kids actually learn in school.)
        >
        >
        >
        <http://dailygotham.com/blog/liza_sabater/long_live_the_cliches_a_word_about
        > _the_new_nyc_dept_of_ed_learning_environment_survey> Daily Gotham '
        focuses
        > on a line at the bottom of the survey: "Survey responses are being
        collected
        > by an external vendor, assuring the confidentiality of answers." It
        writes,
        > "Don't you think that anybody espousing platitudes about
        transparency and
        > open government would at least have the clarity of mind to say who
        is the
        > external vendor we are to hold accountable for such work? Don't you
        want to
        > know how much are these "external vendors" are being paid?."
        >
        > Apparently the mayor is not terribly interested in grading the survey
        > itself, Asked about the complaints, he
        > <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/01/nyregion/01parents.html> said the
        critics
        > want to "subvert the system and sit around and complain and not make
        it any
        > better."
        >
        > But the survey has fans, too. The
        >
        <http://www.vosizneias.com/2007/04/new-york-ny-bloombergs-customer.html>
        Voz
        > Iz Neias blog, which bills itself as the voice of the city's
        Orthodox Jewish
        > community, says, "It would be a good idea for Yeshivas, and Jewish
        private
        > schools to follow this idea."
        >
        > Compiled by Gail Robinson
        >
        >
        <http://www.insideschools.org/nv/NV_parent_surveys_may07.php?070501> ___
        > http://www.insideschools.org/nv/NV_parent_surveys_may07.php?070501
        >
        > School surveys sent home this week
        >
        > As part of the new accountability system that has some
        > <http://insideschools.org/nv/NV_schools_reorg_protest_mar07.php>
        parents up
        > in arms, the Department of Education (DOE) this week is sending home
        surveys
        > for <http://www.classsizematters.org/surveyparent.pdf> parents to
        evaluate
        > conditions in their child's school. The teachers union is lauding the
        > surveys as a chance to find out "what
        >
        <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/01/nyregion/01parents.html?ref=education>
        > people really think about the schools," but already some parents
        have called
        > for a boycott.
        >
        > Parent, teacher, and student responses will be used to help the DOE
        grade
        > each school; although the exact weight of the parent surveys is
        unclear, the
        > three surveys together will account for 10 percent of a school's
        grade. Test
        > scores will count for 85 percent. The school grading system is a new
        > initiative by the Department and part of the system wide
        reorganization.
        >
        > The parent survey asks 14 multi-part questions about topics
        including parent
        > involvement, communication between school and parents, school
        atmosphere,
        > and academics. It also allows parents to select the one improvement
        (from a
        > list of 10 choices) they would most like to see in their child's school;
        > however, there is no space on the survey, which can be completed on
        paper or
        > online, for open-ended comments. The surveys also have no questions
        about
        > instruction for students in special education or who are classified as
        > English language learners.
        >
        > Some parent leaders are protesting the surveys because they say
        their input
        > was not taken into account when the final survey was designed,
        although many
        > of them had been part of a focus group to help devise questions. In
        an April
        > 28 letter to DOE officials, parent leaders wrote that they had helped
        > formulate survey questions but that " core issues had
        > <http://www.classsizematters.org/parentsurveyboycott.html> been
        apparently
        > censored from the survey" before the final version was released.
        Now, Leonie
        > Haimson, the head of Class Size Matters, and Lisa Donlan, of the
        District 1
        > parent community education council, have called on parents to return
        >
        <http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2007/04/parent-voice-censored-fr
        > om-parent.html> the surveys to the DOE with the questions crossed
        out and a
        > personal statement written instead.
        >
        > Elementary school parents should look for the survey in their child's
        > backpack; surveys to middle and high school parents will be mailed
        to the
        > homes. Or check online <http://schools.nyc.gov/surveys> . Students
        in grades
        > 6-12 will take surveys at school. The surveys are due May 18.
        >
        > --Philissa Cramer, May 1, 2007
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Leonie Haimson
        >
        > Class Size Matters
        >
        > 124 Waverly Pl.
        >
        > New York, NY 10011
        >
        > 212-674-7320
        >
        > leonie@...
        >
        > www.classsizematters.org <http://www.classsizematters.org/>
        >
        > http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/
        >
        >
        >
        > To subscribe to our newsletter, send an email to
        > <mailto:classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com>
        > classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        >
        > To contribute to Class Size Matters, please click
        > <http://www.nycharities.org/donate/c_donate.asp?CharityCode=1757> here.
        >
      • Betsy
        I heard it was $3.5 million. Betsy _____ From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of N. Weiner Sent:
        Message 3 of 4 , May 2 8:43 PM
        • 0 Attachment

          I heard it was $3.5 million.

           

          Betsy

           


          From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of N. Weiner
          Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 10:09 PM
          To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: from gotham gazette and inside schools re the parent survey

           

          Bloomberg is spending $2 mil of our money on this survey because
          people want him to. If parents were to hold a strike -- with hundreds
          of thousands of schoolchildren not attending school and thus messing
          with their funding -- that would cause them to sit up and listen.

          Unfortunately, people don't want to act like barbarians. They don't
          understand the fact that they are dealing with barbarians.

          Nat

          --- In nyceducationnews@ yahoogroups. com, "Leonie Haimson" <leonie@...>
          wrote:

          >
          > See below entries about the parent survey.
          >
          > Also great comment in the Daily Gotham : "In 1938, Benito Mussolini
          sent a
          > pollster out to discover how popular he was. The pollster returned and
          > dutifully reported that Mussolini had a 99% favorable rating. When
          Mussolini
          > asked why the pollster had a strange expression on his face, the
          pollster
          > replied, "I'm just amazed at how often I kept running into the other
          1%."
          >
          > Remember, Bloomberg is spending $2 million of your money to conduct this
          > survey.
          > <http://gothamgazett e.com/blogs/ wonkster/ feed>
          > <http://gothamgazett e.com/blogs/ wonkster/>
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          <http://www.gothamga zette.com/ blogs/wonkster/ 2007/05/01/ questioning- the-scho
          > ol-questionnaire/ > Questioning the School Questionnaire
          >
          > The Wonkster
          >
          > May 1st, 2007
          >
          >
          > As any pollster knows it's all in what you ask and how you ask it -
          whether
          > you ask, "Do you favor U.S.
          involvement in Iraq to bring freedom and
          peace
          > to the Middle East ?" Or "Do you
          favor U.S. involvement in Iraq to
          plunge a
          > country into civil war and kill untold thousands of civilians?
          >
          > Now the Bloomberg administration is getting a similar lesson. It
          >
          <http://www.nyc. gov/portal/ site/nycgov/ menuitem. c0935b9a57bb4ef3 daf2f1c701c7
          >
          89a0/index.jsp? pageID=mayor_ press_release& catID=1194& doc_name= http%3A%2F% 2Fw
          >
          ww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml% 2Fom%2Fhtml% 2F2007a%2Fpr129- 07.html&cc= unused1978& rc=1194&
          > ndi=1> announced yesterday it would ask 1.8 million parents,
          teachers and
          > middle and high school students what they think of their "learning
          > environment" (school those of us who don't hang around
          w:st="on">Tweed
          Courthouse).
          > The
          >
          <http://nycpublicsch oolparents. blogspot. com/2007/ 04/parent- voice-censored- fr
          > om-parent.html> survey is part of the overall so-called
          > <
          href="http://gothamgazette.com/article/issueoftheweek/20060605/200/1874/">http://gothamgazett e.com/article/ issueoftheweek/ 20060605/ 200/1874/>
          > accountability initiative.
          >
          > But it ran head first into the thorny issue of what to ask and who's is
          > accountable for what. who exactly is accountable for what. The
          >
          <http://nycpublicsch oolparents. blogspot. com/2007/ 04/parent- voice-censored- fr
          > om-parent.html> Public School Parents blog complains the survey
          neglects the
          > big issues, such as test prep and class size. Instead, they wrote in a
          > <http://www.classsiz ematters. org/parentsurvey boycott.html>
          letter to
          Schools
          > Chancellor Joel Klein, the survey asks questions that "appear to put
          the
          > burden on us as parents if our children are not being adequately
          provided
          > with individualized instruction. " The critics also complain that
          the
          > quesitonnaire makes no effort to evaluate the people at Tweed
          Courthouse -
          > who, of course, paid for the survey
          >
          > As a result some parents who participated in focus group to draft the
          > survey, "are calling on all parents to boycott the survey, cross out
          the
          > questions listed, and before sending it back, write 'We want real parent
          > input - as well as smaller classes, less testing, and new priorities at
          > Tweed to deal with the real problems in
          our schools.'"
          >
          > (What struck this public school parent about the survey was how
          little of it
          > relates to what kids actually learn in school.)
          >
          >
          >
          <http://dailygotham. com/blog/ liza_sabater/ long_live_ the_cliches_ a_word_about
          > _the_new_nyc_ dept_of_ed_ learning_ environment_ survey>
          Daily Gotham '
          focuses
          > on a line at the bottom of the survey: "Survey responses are being
          collected
          > by an external vendor, assuring the confidentiality of answers." It
          writes,
          > "Don't you think that anybody espousing platitudes about
          transparency and
          > open government would at least have the clarity of mind to say who
          is the
          > external vendor we are to hold accountable for such work? Don't you
          want to
          > know how much are these "external vendors" are being
          paid?."
          >
          > Apparently the mayor is not terribly interested in grading the survey
          > itself, Asked about the complaints, he
          > <http://www.nytimes. com/2007/ 05/01/nyregion/ 01parents. html>
          said the
          critics
          > want to "subvert the system and sit around and complain and not make
          it any
          > better."
          >
          > But the survey has fans, too. The
          >
          <http://www.vosiznei as.com/2007/ 04/new-york- ny-bloombergs- customer. html>
          Voz
          > Iz Neias blog, which bills itself as the voice of the city's
          Orthodox Jewish
          > community, says, "It would be a good idea for Yeshivas, and Jewish
          private
          > schools to follow this idea."
          >
          > Compiled by Gail Robinson
          >
          >
          <http://www.insidesc hools.org/ nv/NV_parent_ surveys_may07. php?070501> ___
          >
          href="http://www.insideschools.org/nv/NV_parent_surveys_may07.php?070501">http://www.insidesc hools.org/ nv/NV_parent_ surveys_may07. php?070501
          >
          > School surveys sent home this week
          >
          > As part of the new accountability system that has some
          > <
          href="http://insideschools.org/nv/NV_schools_reorg_protest_mar07.php">http://insideschool s.org/nv/ NV_schools_ reorg_protest_ mar07.php>
          parents up
          > in arms, the Department of Education (DOE) this week is sending home
          surveys
          > for <http://www.classsiz ematters. org/surveyparent .pdf>
          parents to
          evaluate
          > conditions in their child's school. The teachers union is lauding the
          > surveys as a chance to find out "what
          >
          <http://www.nytimes. com/2007/ 05/01/nyregion/ 01parents. html?ref= education>
          > people really think about the schools," but already some parents
          have called
          > for a boycott.
          >
          > Parent, teacher, and student responses will be used to help the DOE
          grade
          > each school; although the exact weight of the parent surveys is
          unclear, the
          > three surveys together will account for 10 percent of a school's
          grade. Test
          > scores will count for 85 percent. The school grading system is a new
          > initiative by the Department and part of the system wide
          reorganization.
          >
          > The parent survey asks 14 multi-part questions about topics
          including parent
          > involvement, communication between school and parents, school
          atmosphere,
          > and academics. It also allows parents to select the one improvement
          (from a
          > list of 10 choices) they would most like to see in their child's school;
          > however, there is no space on the survey, which can be completed on
          paper or
          > online, for open-ended comments. The surveys also have no questions
          about
          > instruction for students in special education or who are classified as
          > English language learners.
          >
          > Some parent leaders are protesting the surveys because they say
          their input
          > was not taken into account when the final survey was designed,
          although many
          > of them had been part of a focus group to help devise questions. In
          an April
          > 28 letter to DOE officials, parent leaders wrote that they had helped
          > formulate survey questions but that " core issues had
          > <http://www.classsiz ematters. org/parentsurvey boycott.html>
          been
          apparently
          > censored from the survey" before the final version was released.
          Now, Leonie
          > Haimson, the head of Class Size Matters, and Lisa Donlan, of the
          District 1
          > parent community education council, have called on parents to return
          >
          <http://nycpublicsch oolparents. blogspot. com/2007/ 04/parent- voice-censored- fr
          > om-parent.html> the surveys to the DOE with the questions crossed
          out and a
          > personal statement written instead.
          >
          > Elementary school parents should look for the survey in their child's
          > backpack; surveys to middle and high school parents will be mailed
          to the
          > homes. Or check online <http://schools. nyc.gov/surveys>
          . Students
          in grades
          > 6-12 will take surveys at school. The surveys are due May 18.
          >
          > --Philissa Cramer, May 1, 2007
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Leonie Haimson
          >
          > Class Size Matters
          >
          > 124 Waverly Pl.
          >
          > New York ,
          w:st="on">NY 10011
          >
          > 212-674-7320
          >
          > leonie@...
          >
          > www.classsizematter s.org <
          href="http://www.classsizematters.org/">http://www.classsiz ematters. org/>
          >
          > http://nycpublicsch oolparents. blogspot. com/
          >
          >
          >
          > To subscribe to our newsletter, send an email to
          > <mailto:classsizematters- subscribe@ yahoogroups. com>
          > classsizematters- subscribe@ yahoogroups. com
          >
          >
          >
          > To contribute to Class Size Matters, please click
          > <
          href="http://www.nycharities.org/donate/c_donate.asp?CharityCode=1757">http://www.nycharit ies.org/donate/ c_donate. asp?CharityCode= 1757> here.
          >

        • Beth Bernett
          I m ready and willing. BB
          Message 4 of 4 , May 3 12:56 PM
          • 0 Attachment
            I'm ready and willing.
            BB
            On Wednesday, May 2, 2007, at 10:08 PM, N. Weiner wrote:

            > Bloomberg is spending $2 mil of our money on this survey because
            > people want him to. If parents were to hold a strike -- with hundreds
            > of thousands of schoolchildren not attending school and thus messing
            > with their funding -- that would cause them to sit up and listen.
            >
            > Unfortunately, people don't want to act like barbarians. They don't
            > understand the fact that they are dealing with barbarians.
            >
            > Nat
            >
            > --- In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, "Leonie Haimson" <leonie@...>
            > wrote:
            > >
            > > See below entries about the parent survey.
            > >
            > > Also great comment in the Daily Gotham : "In 1938, Benito Mussolini
            > sent a
            > > pollster out to discover how popular he was. The pollster returned
            > and
            > > dutifully reported that Mussolini had a 99% favorable rating. When
            > Mussolini
            > > asked why the pollster had a strange expression on his face, the
            > pollster
            > > replied, "I'm just amazed at how often I kept running into the other
            > 1%."
            > >
            > > Remember, Bloomberg is spending $2 million of your money to conduct
            > this
            > > survey.
            > > <http://gothamgazette.com/blogs/wonkster/feed>
            > > <http://gothamgazette.com/blogs/wonkster/>
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > <http://www.gothamgazette.com/blogs/wonkster/2007/05/01/questioning-
            > the-scho
            > > ol-questionnaire/> Questioning the School Questionnaire
            > >
            > > The Wonkster
            > >
            > > May 1st, 2007
            > >
            > >
            > > As any pollster knows it's all in what you ask and how you ask it -
            > whether
            > > you ask, "Do you favor U.S. involvement in Iraq to bring freedom and
            > peace
            > > to the Middle East?" Or "Do you favor U.S. involvement in Iraq to
            > plunge a
            > > country into civil war and kill untold thousands of civilians?
            > >
            > > Now the Bloomberg administration is getting a similar lesson. It
            > >
            > <http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/
            > menuitem.c0935b9a57bb4ef3daf2f1c701c7
            > >
            > 89a0/
            > index.jsp?pageID=mayor_press_release&catID=1194&doc_name=http%3A%2F%2Fw
            > >
            > ww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fom%2Fhtml%2F2007a%2Fpr129-
            > 07.html&cc=unused1978&rc=1194&
            > > ndi=1> announced yesterday it would ask 1.8 million parents,
            > teachers and
            > > middle and high school students what they think of their "learning
            > > environment" (school those of us who don't hang around Tweed
            > Courthouse).
            > > The
            > >
            > <http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2007/04/parent-voice-
            > censored-fr
            > > om-parent.html> survey is part of the overall so-called
            > > <http://gothamgazette.com/article/issueoftheweek/20060605/200/1874/>
            > > accountability initiative.
            > >
            > > But it ran head first into the thorny issue of what to ask and who's
            > is
            > > accountable for what. who exactly is accountable for what. The
            > >
            > <http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2007/04/parent-voice-
            > censored-fr
            > > om-parent.html> Public School Parents blog complains the survey
            > neglects the
            > > big issues, such as test prep and class size. Instead, they wrote in
            > a
            > > <http://www.classsizematters.org/parentsurveyboycott.html> letter to
            > Schools
            > > Chancellor Joel Klein, the survey asks questions that "appear to put
            > the
            > > burden on us as parents if our children are not being adequately
            > provided
            > > with individualized instruction." The critics also complain that the
            > > quesitonnaire makes no effort to evaluate the people at Tweed
            > Courthouse -
            > > who, of course, paid for the survey
            > >
            > > As a result some parents who participated in focus group to draft the
            > > survey, "are calling on all parents to boycott the survey, cross out
            > the
            > > questions listed, and before sending it back, write 'We want real
            > parent
            > > input - as well as smaller classes, less testing, and new priorities
            > at
            > > Tweed to deal with the real problems in our schools.'"
            > >
            > > (What struck this public school parent about the survey was how
            > little of it
            > > relates to what kids actually learn in school.)
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > <http://dailygotham.com/blog/liza_sabater/
            > long_live_the_cliches_a_word_about
            > > _the_new_nyc_dept_of_ed_learning_environment_survey> Daily Gotham '
            > focuses
            > > on a line at the bottom of the survey: "Survey responses are being
            > collected
            > > by an external vendor, assuring the confidentiality of answers." It
            > writes,
            > > "Don't you think that anybody espousing platitudes about
            > transparency and
            > > open government would at least have the clarity of mind to say who
            > is the
            > > external vendor we are to hold accountable for such work? Don't you
            > want to
            > > know how much are these "external vendors" are being paid?."
            > >
            > > Apparently the mayor is not terribly interested in grading the survey
            > > itself, Asked about the complaints, he
            > > <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/01/nyregion/01parents.html> said the
            > critics
            > > want to "subvert the system and sit around and complain and not make
            > it any
            > > better."
            > >
            > > But the survey has fans, too. The
            > >
            > <http://www.vosizneias.com/2007/04/new-york-ny-bloombergs-
            > customer.html>
            > Voz
            > > Iz Neias blog, which bills itself as the voice of the city's
            > Orthodox Jewish
            > > community, says, "It would be a good idea for Yeshivas, and Jewish
            > private
            > > schools to follow this idea."
            > >
            > > Compiled by Gail Robinson
            > >
            > >
            > <http://www.insideschools.org/nv/NV_parent_surveys_may07.php?070501>
            > ___
            > > http://www.insideschools.org/nv/NV_parent_surveys_may07.php?070501
            > >
            > > School surveys sent home this week
            > >
            > > As part of the new accountability system that has some
            > > <http://insideschools.org/nv/NV_schools_reorg_protest_mar07.php>
            > parents up
            > > in arms, the Department of Education (DOE) this week is sending home
            > surveys
            > > for <http://www.classsizematters.org/surveyparent.pdf> parents to
            > evaluate
            > > conditions in their child's school. The teachers union is lauding the
            > > surveys as a chance to find out "what
            > >
            > <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/01/nyregion/
            > 01parents.html?ref=education>
            > > people really think about the schools," but already some parents
            > have called
            > > for a boycott.
            > >
            > > Parent, teacher, and student responses will be used to help the DOE
            > grade
            > > each school; although the exact weight of the parent surveys is
            > unclear, the
            > > three surveys together will account for 10 percent of a school's
            > grade. Test
            > > scores will count for 85 percent. The school grading system is a new
            > > initiative by the Department and part of the system wide
            > reorganization.
            > >
            > > The parent survey asks 14 multi-part questions about topics
            > including parent
            > > involvement, communication between school and parents, school
            > atmosphere,
            > > and academics. It also allows parents to select the one improvement
            > (from a
            > > list of 10 choices) they would most like to see in their child's
            > school;
            > > however, there is no space on the survey, which can be completed on
            > paper or
            > > online, for open-ended comments. The surveys also have no questions
            > about
            > > instruction for students in special education or who are classified
            > as
            > > English language learners.
            > >
            > > Some parent leaders are protesting the surveys because they say
            > their input
            > > was not taken into account when the final survey was designed,
            > although many
            > > of them had been part of a focus group to help devise questions. In
            > an April
            > > 28 letter to DOE officials, parent leaders wrote that they had helped
            > > formulate survey questions but that " core issues had
            > > <http://www.classsizematters.org/parentsurveyboycott.html> been
            > apparently
            > > censored from the survey" before the final version was released.
            > Now, Leonie
            > > Haimson, the head of Class Size Matters, and Lisa Donlan, of the
            > District 1
            > > parent community education council, have called on parents to return
            > >
            > <http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2007/04/parent-voice-
            > censored-fr
            > > om-parent.html> the surveys to the DOE with the questions crossed
            > out and a
            > > personal statement written instead.
            > >
            > > Elementary school parents should look for the survey in their child's
            > > backpack; surveys to middle and high school parents will be mailed
            > to the
            > > homes. Or check online <http://schools.nyc.gov/surveys> . Students
            > in grades
            > > 6-12 will take surveys at school. The surveys are due May 18.
            > >
            > > --Philissa Cramer, May 1, 2007
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > Leonie Haimson
            > >
            > > Class Size Matters
            > >
            > > 124 Waverly Pl.
            > >
            > > New York, NY 10011
            > >
            > > 212-674-7320
            > >
            > > leonie@...
            > >
            > > www.classsizematters.org <http://www.classsizematters.org/>
            > >
            > > http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > To subscribe to our newsletter, send an email to
            > > <mailto:classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com>
            > > classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > To contribute to Class Size Matters, please click
            > > <http://www.nycharities.org/donate/c_donate.asp?CharityCode=1757>
            > here.
            > >
            >
            >
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