Education reform survey – seriously?

Nov 23, 2010, 5:29 PM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

Governor Chris Gregoire is asking anyone who cares about education in Washington to go online and fill out a survey on reform efforts before Thanksgiving.

The survey itself is part of what’s wrong with education reform.

The Superintendent of Public Instructions office says the survey will help them prioritize reform efforts. That’s important. Unfortunately for parents, the survey was written in educationese – a language education administrators speak fluently.

I’ve covered the education beat in the Seattle area for about four years. That includes sitting through meetings and sifting through documents related to engaging and empowering stakeholders as team leaders assess learning-centered benchmarks, while they iterate research-based styles among cohorts, and articulate ESLR’s required for constructivist life-long learning. What does any of that mean?

Administrators understand that kind of language, and that’s fine. All professions have their own lingo.

What’s less than fine is distributing a statewide survey that solicits parents’ opinions with phrases that require a lot of thought to interpret the questions, let alone answer them.

For example, prioritize these math goals for Washington public schools:


Okay. Done with that? Next, put the state’s education priorities in order:


Now please prioritize education strategies:


Hmmm, okay. The i.e. in that question is meant to clarify. Programmatic practices?

The online survey is not impossible to complete. I do wish educators would help with the “community engagement process” by speaking plain language.

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Education reform survey – seriously?