Tuesday, July 1

And the survey says...

Mayor Bloomberg announced the results of the 2008 Learning Environment Survey this morning; not surprisingly, there's good news and bad news.

This second year of the survey generated a significantly larger response, especially at schools that scored poorly last year (targets of DOE response-generating efforts). Overall, parents report high levels of satisfaction with their childrens' education and teachers; teachers who responded say they're more satisfied, too, but some areas, like professional development, still fall short.

Of great interest to us is the student survey, which shows a kid-typical mix of answers. (Middle and high-schoolers were invited to participate; between 11% and 15% actually did.)

Learning environment, for kids, means the life of the hallway and the schoolyard--what's said too loud in the cafeteria and who bumps who in gym. Bullying, fighting, and adults who yell continue to be problems, kids say. About half feel they can't turn to adults at school for help; more than half say that students don't "help and care about each other" or "treat each other with respect."

Four in ten students report that their schools don't have enough variety, in classes and activities, to keep them engaged. And it's still really hard to be smart and cool: Almost half of the students the DOE heard from say that kids who earn high grades at their school don't get other students' respect.

Bottom line: The grown-ups seem happier than they did last year. The kids -- well, they're still struggling. They want more challenge, and they need more support.

The DOE plans to post citywide survey results and reports for individual schools this afternoon; we'll update this post with a link when they do. (Learning Environment Surveys and attendance account for 15% of each school's annual progress report.)

1 comment:

Bronx_shrink said...

The biggest complaint I hear from the middle school students I know is that too many of their teachers are frequently yelling, are extremely rigid and don't respect them. Respect is a huge issue with the inner city middle schoolers (and I would guess that generalizes to other groups). The high school students complain of feeling constrained by limited curriculum. A large number of students seem to be just floating along without any sense of direction.

I heard from one teen completing her sophomore year at High School for Leadership and Public Service that her school is losing its after school activities, inlcuding the Japanese class, anime club and writing class that she had grown to love. It was those activities that were keeping her engaged in what she otherwise considers a mundane educational setting.

It saddens me to see so many teens feeling unheard and disconnected from their schools. I hope real changes come from these surveys...