In February, the Calgary Board of Education trustees received a report that stated that only 19% of parents were confident that feedback given to the CBE will make a difference.
In the fall of 2010, the CBE conducted a communications survey and found that only 46% of parents rate communications on system-wide issues to be Good to Excellent. They also found that “a large majority” of parents are not aware of opportunities available to them to learn more about what is happening system-wide at the CBE and provide input. In the fall of 2012, the CBE trustees had a council of school council meeting, in order to solicit feedback about communications. A few months later, the CBE is once again surveying parents about communication.
Perhaps this explains why parents are not very confident that their feedback will make a difference. Although they are surveyed frequently, they rarely see any changes made as a result of their input.
If the CBE takes the time, money and resources to solicit the input of parents, teachers, students and community members, they must demonstrate that they value the input received. They must also include them in making real decisions that affect our students and our schools.
The new K-9 report cards that no longer contain grades or comments are a perfect example of a situation where feedback should have been sought, at least from parents, teachers and students, before even piloting the idea. Even the trustees were not made aware of the changes before the report cards were provided to schools for piloting in the upcoming school year. While I have met with many teachers, parents, students and employers who agree that the report cards might need to change, those affected by the changes are not happy with what they have heard about the new report cards, or the process used to develop them.
To improve education in Calgary, we need to be working together.
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