A Mug’s Game: Student Perception Survey

Nov 28, 2017 by

If I had to choose just one person in history, famous or not, dead or alive, to meet in person, I know who’d I’d choose.  It’s the author of the Department of Education’s Student Perception Survey, which all 1800 public schools have just received  by Fed-Ex ( The Postal Service is too inexpensive) for distribution to kids as young as eleven. 

The survey is confidential, so teachers won’t know who is saying what or explain themselves.It ranks among the most preposterous scripts for the theater of the absurd.
Children must rate “the degree of fairness or unfairness” of their teacher’s classroom rules and estimate “how often does your teacher seem excited to be teaching your class?”Some more actual questions:

“How much does this teacher know about the topic of his/her class?”  ( Is an eleven-year old competent to judge the subject knowledge of a teacher who earned multiple college degrees?)

“How respectful is this teacher toward you?” ( any teacher who stands up to unruly students is likely to get mixed reviews at best)

“How well can this teacher tell whether or not you understand a topic?”  ( Based on intuition and what evidence?  Such insights  into the goings-in of the internal mind are elusive even to adults)

“How connected do you feel to this teacher?” ( Connected?  Fiber-optics, dial-up, ‘Beam me up, Scotty’, compatible wavelengths, integrated circuits?)

“How often does your teacher seem excited to be teaching your class?” ( Reviewing  arithmetic timetables leading to conjectured spontaneous exhilaration?)

Other questions, such as inquiring how “excited” the student is to be in the teacher’s class and how “eager” he/she is to participate, are likely to be answered largely on the basis of the child’s acumen and interest in the academic area, regardless of the teacher’s efforts to sharpen their skills and raise their self-confidence.

These surveys are at best misguided, if honest attempts to enfranchise students. In keeping with the Department of Education’s philosophical orientation,however, they are more likely to be ruses designed to make the Department of Education appear user-friendly, community-minded, child-centered and sensitive to the undifferentiated clamor for what is fashionably called “teacher accountability.”

The DOE’s affinity is greater for “optics” and gimmicks than for curriculum and school safety.  Although these surveys are more fatuous than sinister, they are symptomatic of a disturbing cynicism that grips the DOE, in which they “stroke” students and parents so that they will be thrown off their guard and be less likely to notice that they have been sold a “bill of goods” in terms of a quality education in a secure environment.

Although public school teachers are the best-trained and equal to the most dedicated in the profession of education, it’s hare-brained “initiatives” like the DOE’s Student Perception Survey that are provoking parents into pulling their kids out of public school and forcing them into the open arms of charters and other unsatisfactory private alternatives.

Ron Isaac

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