Parent Calls for Improvement Plan Instead of $120k Survey

Lori Morrow presented a version of this testimony during the public comment portion of the May 12th Board of Education Meeting. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools.

by Lori Morrow

A few weeks ago, I watched the April 28th Board of Education meeting at home and
was surprised to hear about a $120,000 survey to determine community
perceptions of PGCPS. I agree with comments made by some board members that
night: We already know many of the negative perceptions that persist from existing surveys.

IMG_0510A few months ago, I noticed each of the school pages on the PGCPS website includes a link to the 2013 School Climate Survey, as well as a note indicating the next biannual survey would be published in Fall 2015. I recall getting an email to fill out the survey last June, and know that my son participated in a survey this school year.

I’ve been attempting to get a copy of this climate survey report and, after more than two months and many emails, I was finally able to access a copy of the report this very morning from a helpful staff member in the Research and Evaluation Department. I was particularly interested in the report for my son’s middle school because of comments I regularly hear from him. While a quick comparison with the 2013 report does show some improvement for the school, a number of areas are rather disappointing.

For example:

  •  31% of Parents disagree with the statement that they are proud to send their
    child to this school
  • 31% of Parents do not believe that teachers will provide students individual
    attention if needed.
  • 44% of Students disagree with the statement that they feel safe in school.
  • 61% of Students do not believe that students respect the authority of
    teachers at this school.
  • 54% of Students do not feel like they are an important part of their school
    community.

As a parent who puts a lot of time and energy into my children’s schools, it is very disheartening to see statistics like this in print, but it wasn’t necessarily a surprise.

Now that the information is available, I’d like to know what we as parents, students, staff and community members are going to do with it.

I don’t think we need more surveys; I believe we need more action at all levels to give our children the education they deserve. We know what the issues are. What we seem to struggle with is a plan of action to address these issues. We must improve the experiences and trust of students and parents currently inside the school system in order to retain those families and attract others back to PGCPS.

To watch a recording of Lori Morrow’s testimony at the May 12th Board meeting, go to 48:04 in the video here.

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