As the teacher's union rep (UFT) in one of Manhattan's largest high schools, it's important for me to assess the learning and teaching environment from those I serve- the professionals in the building, minus the principal and assistant principals.
I periodically give an online survey and usually get about 50 percent participation. Certainly large enough to produce significant comment on the state of our school as seen through the eyes of its staff. It's also a way to hold the principal accountable for the safety and support for learning that takes place in the school.
The New York Times' School Book published the results of this year's survey. It's interesting, but no surprise, to note also that the school Learning Environment Survey, conducted by the New York City Department of Education, mirrored the sentiment of our survey. The students and parents gave the teachers overwhelming satisfied or better marks. While the principal, Dr. Andrea Lewis, got failing marks from the staff - those whom she is charged to lead. You can view the LE Survey here (see pp. 14-15).
The survey, or a version of their own, is something every UFT rep should conduct in their school. With the corporate reform agenda turning schools into mini corporations it's incumbent upon any democracy loving public servant to hold the line on secrecy and promote transparency.
Here's the piece from the New York Times:
"Every year for the last three, John Elfrank-Dana, a social studies teacher and union chapter leader at Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers, has conducted a survey of the staff in his building. A State of the School, of sorts, the survey asks teachers and others about safety, job satisfaction and whether the struggling school has improved." Click here to read on...
LE Survey - Click on it to open for full view.