An August 2008 poll conducted by Education Next and Harvard University finds
that Americans think less of their schools than of their police departments and
post offices. When asked to grade the post office, 70 percent of respondents
gave an "A" or "B." In contrast, only 20 percent of Americans said public
schools deserve an "A" or a "B." Twenty-six percent of the country actually gave
their public schools a grade of "D" or "F." And African-Americans are even more
down on public schools, 31 percent gave public schools a "D" or an "F."
Almost all charter schools in Colorado survey perceptions of their parents. Increasingly, I see these surveys administered online. Most schools publicize the results on their websites, also. By doing so, charter school leaders increase the transparency by which they make decisions.
Do ratings from parents on these types of surveys really make a difference? Yes, they do. The charter board considers them when strategic planning and evaluating the principal. The administrator uses them in teacher evaluation, program design and potential areas for expansion. Charter schools operate only with consumer (parent) demand, which is why charter school leaders care about customers!