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HB 1191, the Parent Empowerment in Education bill, is currently working its way through the legislature in Florida. According to the Florida Senate website, the bill:

Authorizes parents of students assigned to certain underperforming public schools to submit petition to school district requesting implementation of school turnaround option selected by parents; requires school district, upon request, to provide parent with performance evaluation for classroom teachers assigned to child; requires notification to parent of student assigned to teacher who is teaching out-of-field or has received unsatisfactory performance evaluations; requires such notification to include information about availability of virtual instruction.

Among many actions the bill requires school districts to consider parent turnaround options for low performing schools. It also forces implementation of a turnaround option when a school “does not sufficiently improve during the first two years of intervention” (see analysis). The bill encourages parents with children in low-performing schools to engage in improving the school and increasing the opportunities for student learning and achievement. If passed, the bill would take effect July 1, 2012.

Our work at Studer Education includes partnering with schools and school districts to deliver parent satisfaction surveys. We use a 17-item Likert response scale questionnaire which measures parent satisfaction across the following areas:

Engagement of child in school environment (e.g., “The school provides a safe environment…”);

Engagement of child/parent in academic communication (e.g., “I regularly receive feedback… on how well my child is learning”);

Engagement of child/family with school-level personnel (e.g., “The teachers, staff, … demonstrate a genuine concern for my family”); and

Engagement of child/family with district-level leadership (e.g., “The Superintendent… makes decisions that are in the best interest of children and parents of the district”).

The questionnaire also includes three open-ended questions for parents to gauge what is going well, what might be improved, and who they would like to recognize for good work at the child’s school. Early reliability metrics on the parent satisfaction survey are quite high (Cronbach’s alpha > 0.90). We are encouraged by the work our school partners are doing to invite parents to participate in the survey; in a recent delivery one principal wrote “we want to be recognized as a great place for students to learn… and parents to send their children for an excellent education. In order to be successful, we need your help; we want to hear from you.” In addition, we are encouraged by the leaders’ and teachers’ responses to the feedback from parents completing the questionnaire. Much like HB 1991, parent satisfaction surveys are being used to “[open] the door to a whole new level of communication between parents and schools” (Foundation for Florida’s Future).

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Studer Education works with institutions of higher education and school districts throughout the United States to assist leaders and employees with creating great places for people to work by achieving goals that help educational institutions achieve excellence. For more information about use of parent satisfaction surveys or leader development institutes contact us at 850-432-7051 or complete this contact form.