Survey Reveals Interesting Facts About Public School Rankings

A $2 million survey on the state of New York schools has just been released by Mayor Bloomberg, and is proving to be a veritable goldmine of new findings about the roles of parents, teachers and students in their public school rankings. The survey was part of an ambitious plan to grade all schools and was hailed by the Mayor as “the most successful effort” that has ever been made to collect data about the state of a district’s schools.

Even with all this grandiose rhetoric only 26% of parents in New York bothered to respond to the survey. This does cast light on the role played by parents on public school rankings. Statistics of respondents were slightly better in the case of students and teachers – 44% of teachers and 65% of students participated in the survey that aimed to collect data from the three pillars that determine public school rankings in New York.

Low Morale of Students are Affecting Public School Rankings

One of the most telling facts that emerged out of the survey, and one which directly points to the role of students in determining public school rankings, was that nearly half the student respondents reported that getting good grades at school made them lose standing among their peers. This is a damaging indictment of the kind of culture that’s being fostered in schools not just in New York, but in many other districts across the nation. A poor student environment will naturally lead to poor performances in school tests and consequently mean lowered public school rankings.

Small Class Sizes and Public School rankings

A surprise in the survey was the lowered number of parents who wanted smaller class sizes for their children’s schools. Smaller class sizes have been found to be beneficial as far as public school rankings are concerned because of the increased personal interaction between students and teachers.

More parents -close to 45 % of those surveyed- said they believed more or better programs would help their children more than smaller classes would. The smaller class size lobbyists are obviously not too happy with these findings because it flies in the face of all they have been pushing for all these years. In fact many proponents of smaller classes dismissed the survey as nothing but a gigantic public relations exercise.

The Teacher- Principal Relation and Public School Rankings

Another shocker that came out of the survey was the percentage of teachers who said they either didn’t trust their principals or doubted their managerial skills. Sound school management is based on a healthy teacher-principal interaction and a lack of this, as demonstrated in New York schools, is bound to have a negative effect on public school rankings.