DISD parents deserve to know what teachers see and hear on every campus in DISD.
Teacher voices must not be threatened or silenced by any principal or administrator in the district because that would be a direct violation of the First Amendment right to Free Speech. The right to Free Speech is a right all Americans enjoy, especially employees of a government entity like a public school district.
(Bloggers also enjoy protections under the Freedom of the Press part of the First Amendment. Founding Fathers established Freedom of the Press so that citizens could and would monitor, investigate and report the truth about what goes on in government entities in order to prevent corruption). Based on the reasoning behind the First Amendment, it looks like the Founding Fathers would consider blogging about a public school district the patriotic thing to do!
No one likes it when the facts cast them in an unfavorable light, but it is legal to tell the truth and it is illegal to retaliate against truth-tellers in any way.
This brings us to the Fall Climate Survey results and the failure to report those results. It could be interpreted that the results are not being published in order to silence teachers about what they witness on their individual campuses. Some teachers are now fearful that because their responses may not have been positive, they will endure retaliation (even though they were promised anonymity) and the public will never know what prompted the retaliation.
Bottom line: teachers completed the surveys, taxpayers paid for the surveys and it is past time to share the results.
For example, one of the survey statements is: Unruly students are not permitted to disrupt the learning environment. Teachers may choose responses that include Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree or Strongly Disagree.
Certainly, every DISD parent has the right to know what percentage of teachers on their child’s campus answered positively (either Strongly Agree or Agree) about whether or not unruly students are permitted to be disruptive. No parent wants their child to attend a school where “unruly” students rule the roost and parents should not be forced to rely on a principal’s say-so to determine if that happens.
Another statement is: Discipline is enforced consistently and effectively at my campus. Again, parents deserve to know what percentage of teachers answered Strongly Agree/Agree. If you had children in any school, wouldn’t knowing if teachers agreed with this statement be important to you?
A third statement is: My campus leadership helps me improve the quality of my instruction. If the majority of teachers at a campus do not either strongly agree or agree with that statement, this could indicate a problem at that campus. Think about it: if the majority of teachers answer Neutral or Disagree, isn’t that a red flag? Isn’t it the principal’s job (and the APs’ and especially the Instructional Coaches’) to help teachers improve to the point that teachers can either strongly agree or agree with that statement?
Parents also deserve to know the percentage of teachers who strongly agree/agree with the statement: I have the support I need from campus leadership to do my job well.
Other than blogs and the climate survey, teachers have no way to anonymously report campus conditions. The taxpayers paid for the survey because taxpayers understand the need to hear from teachers. So where are the results?
DISD parents and taxpayers should request the results from their child’s campus or any campus. If a campus refuses to provide the results, Dallas needs to know.
I hope the Dallas Morning News (as the city’s only traditional newspaper) and all of the other media outlets will join us in calling for the results to be published so parents can have the information they need to be fully engaged and aware when it comes to their child’s education.
Who is denying the release of the survey results so that they can be published?