Last week, DISD teachers and staff received a link for the Spring Climate Survey.
Since the Fall Climate Survey results for individual campuses were never released in the DMN, we can use our trusty inferencing skills to conclude that the results must have been bad, especially at campuses Miles wants to protect from scrutiny.
We can also infer that the scores were bad based on the actions of many DISD principals in anticipation of this spring’s survey. Their actions have ranged from subtle manipulation to lies to outright threats.
As I wrote in other posts about this subject, one way principals try to mislead teachers is by referring to the survey as “our” results. They’ll say things like, “’We’ scored low on this section,” or “’Our campus’ needs to improve on this section.”
There is no “we” or “our.” That is a lie and a thinly veiled threat. The results evaluate the principal and only the principal. Questions about instructional teams are likely just filler questions, as are many of the other questions.
We can also infer the results were bad because after Winter Break, many principals forced teachers to sit through meetings where the principal went over some (or all) of the questions from the fall survey and provided “clarification” about the questions, as if teachers misunderstood them. Teachers from multiple campuses report that this happened.
No, teachers did not misunderstand the truly important questions about campus moral, the direction of the campus, the direction of the district and the discipline problems. Those questions (actually statements) were quite clearly worded and are probably the only ones the district really looks at (again, the others are likely filler).
Creating committees to “fix” the campus problems seems to be another common (but useless) ploy of many DISD principals. Committees are a stall tactic because they require even more teacher time, they are not anonymous and the principal still has veto power over whatever the committees come up with. This makes the committee idea pointless and a waste of time.
Finally, I’m reading that principals are attempting to mislead teachers by giving conflicting information about the Neutral choice. Are Neutrals counted as positives or negatives?
The truth is this: No one knows and it doesn’t matter anyway. Principals should stop worrying about the Neutral count and get busy addressing the number of Disagree responses.
For example, I’m certain a principal whose survey result is ranked 1 or 2 out of his/her category isn’t obsessing over the Neutrals. When there are overwhelming percentages of positive responses, the principals don’t need to drag teachers down the rabbit trail of examining the Neutrals.
The level of nonsense surrounding this spring survey is exhausting. It demeans the principals and diminishes their credibility. We teachers are not the oblivious, easily manipulated cows many principals (and Miles) must believe us to be. Principals can stop trying to influence us.
Effective principals simply listen to their teachers, even when the teachers’ solutions contradict Mike Miles (whose “leadership” has increased the number of IR schools).
Effective principals (or principals who want to be effective) are the ones who put a locked box in the teachers’ lounge and ask teachers to drop anonymous comments, concerns, complaints and questions into it. And then they act on what they read.
IMHO, anything other than a system to collect anonymous comments, complaints, concerns or questions from teachers on their campus is a fake effort on the part of a principal to improve campus conditions.
Failing principals will not take this simple, direct step, which is why they will continue to fail.
DISD teachers should answer the survey statements honestly, without any concern about the Neutrals or how the answers make “the campus” look or if they were offered the exciting opportunity to waste more time meeting with some committee. DISD teachers should not worry that they are misunderstanding a question, because the important questions are impossible to misunderstand.
Teacher feedback matters. If it didn’t matter, the results of the fall survey would have been released in a public forum like the newspaper, detailing the scores at every DISD campus. So, since the results obviously matter, Dallas citizens need all DISD teachers to complete the surveys to let taxpayers know what’s going on in the schools.