Columbia Public Schools invites residents to answer survey

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 | 11:43 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — For the third consecutive year, Columbia Public Schools is asking community members for their opinions of the district.

Late last week, the district released a survey on its website to generally evaluate its progress with the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan, a five-year program started in 2010 in which the district hopes to make gains in five goal areas.

The survey will be available until Friday. It contains questions such as:

  • Overall, what grade would you give the district?
  • How often do you visit the district’s website?
  • What would you say about the district to a person moving to Columbia?

The online survey is available to anyone who wants to respond to it, whether they have children in the schools or other direct ties. People who take it are the ones who want to give us their opinion, district spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said.

The bulk of the data, though, will come from a separate, phone survey of registered voters conducted by Patron Insight Inc., a company that collects data for school districts mainly in Kansas and Missouri.

The phone survey is random and gives the school district a better idea of how community members without direct connections feel about its performance, Baumstark said.

The district's goal is 400 completed responses by Dec. 13. The date is not hard and fast; Patron Insight will continue to make phone calls until that number of completed responses is reached.

If the goal date of Dec. 13 is achieved, the district can expect a report on the findings sometime in January, Baumstark said. The district has the reports from 2010 and 2011 on its website.

In 2010, those surveyed felt satisfied with the district’s performance, according to a report that can be downloaded from the district's website. A majority of community members gave the district an overall grade of "B" in 2010. People tended to look for school updates on district sources first instead of the media, according to the survey data.

In 2011, those surveyed were in favor of the district’s performance and had an "active interest" in news about the district, according to another report on the district's website. Again, a majority of those surveyed gave the district a "B."

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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Michael Williams December 4, 2012 | 3:56 p.m.

I took the survey, but some questions look a bit like "push-polling".

Here's one: It asks about our efforts to close the achievement gap.

After all the money and abysmal outcomes (and prospects of more abysmal outcomes), I've become convinced there is NO roll for Columbia public schools in providing anything more than an equal opportunity for learning. I believe we do that now.

Thus, for me the question is improper since it assumes a fact not in wit, that I think there IS a roll for our schools in fixing the achievement gap. In point of fact, I don't think there should be ANY effort by our public schools to close ANY achievement gap other than providing an opportunity for learning.

Other than that, it's the parents' responsibility.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks December 4, 2012 | 4:17 p.m.

I also took the poll but struggled with a few questions. They way they were worded kind of meant that if I say A then they think everything is good if I say B then they would work to spend more on it without fixing the reason for the low rating.
Frankly I think they should do a better job at informing the public what they are spending out money on vs lecturing us on what they need or getting upset when we do not pass every bond issue that comes our way. If $10k a student per year is not getting the results they want what makes them think that $11k will do the trick?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams December 4, 2012 | 5:38 p.m.

Oh for heaven's sake! I type "roll" when I should have typed "role". Must be a "low brain wave activity" day.

CoreyP: Yes, they needed another "answer" category entitled "I don't think we should be doing this in the first place!"

In many places, the poll makes the taker assume A to get to B. But, what if I don't want to assume A? Overall, it's not a good poll in many places. Whoever wrote it should know better....they left out answers for many of us and, as a result, they end up with a biased poll. I tried to make some written explanations, but the fact remains that the poll takers did not get my true beliefs about our school district and the direction it should take.

I guess I expected better.

(Report Comment)

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