Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Understanding the Auditor's diagnostic survey.

One of our active contributors has taken the time to perform an evaluation of the State Auditor's anonymous diagnostic survey.

Since posting the entire contents of his evaluation would take considerable space on this blog, I will post portions of his assessment here and link the entire document as a pdf (mdi) on our blog server.

It warrants mentioning that the Superintendent does not agree with making anonymous comments and that it "promotes irresponsible communication". Here is Mr. Nick's exact quote:

I do not agree with your blog concept; by allowing anonymous posts you are promoting irresponsible communication and in fact allowing people to say untruths about the district and staff. No person or organization has a responsibility to respond in any forum to anonymous allegations. Thus, your suggestion that you are personally interested in making the district a better place does not fit with your practices.

By the Superintendent's own flawed logic, the State Auditor must not be interested in making the district a better place either.

Here are a few interesting tidbits from the assessment of the State Auditor's anonymous survey:

The general trend on these questions is that positive agreement declines as you move down the pecking order from central administrators to classified workers.

Red flags include:

Question #10: The district administration operates efficiently.
While head office and building administrators agree at 60%, classified employees disagree at about the same rate (59.6%). This is one of several questions that have a great split between administration and their subordinates.

Question #21: Authority for administrative decisions is delegated to the lowest possible level, as appropriate.
Here again the administration gives themselves good marks: 55.6% central administration and 70% building administrators agreeing, but 38.5%, 35.6% and 12.8% positive for professional staff (counselors, librarians), teachers, and classified (paraprofessionals) respectively. This question probably goes to the Draft 5 Agreement-those affected by a decision will have a say in the decision-that several free comments note has disappeared from the district.

Question #30: Teachers are held accountable for ensuring that students learn.
Only 33% of central administrators agree but 75% of teachers agree. This is a curious response. The overwhelming feeling in the trenches is that teachers are held responsible for student learning yet 2/3 of the central administrators don’t think so? Or does that mean that only 1/3 of central administrators think it’s their job to hold teachers accountable? Or do 1/3 of them think that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) holds teachers accountable and the other 2/3 thinks someone else (themselves?) are accountable? Did somebody read the question wrong? If we are in the student learning business, it seems that there should be some agreement as to who is to be held responsible for that learning.

Question #73: The school district routinely purchases the highest quality materials and equipment at the lowest possible cost.
Central administrators (who are doing most of the purchasing) think yes at 72.2% yet everybody else has issues with that statement: building administration, 20%; professional staff, 34.6%; teachers, 25.9%; classified, 27.7%. Is this a reflection of pianos are does it go beyond that?

Question #28: The district has an effective truancy reduction program.
Not a lot of positive support for this crucial issue: office administrators, 27.8%; building administrators, 20%; professional staff, 21.2%; teachers, 21.5%; and classified 23.4%. General agreement that there isn’t.

Question #8: The Superintendent is a respected and effective instructional leader.
Surprisingly, 44.5% of central administrators and fully 50% of responding building administrators DISAGREE, apparently feeling that he is NOT respected and/or effective as an instructional leader. These are the people who work closest to the Superintendent and should have the best feel for his abilities. If the response to no other question on this survey arouses your interest, this should make you sit up and take note.

Blog: Another revealing trend suggests that every public agency outside of the Edmonds School District agrees with the blog in how it reports information, the purpose it serves and why it exists.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does it surprise ANYONE that Nick doesn't agree with the BLOG? I love the illustration, the person with a "sack on head", for this article!