School survey seeks parent, student perspectives

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools is sending out a survey to parents, staff and students next week, asking them what they think about the education kids are getting.

"If I were to give them a grade, I'd give them a B," said Jeff Krall, the parent of a Hickman High School Senior.

The survey will ask people about subjects like teacher quality, classroom atmosphere and parental access to their children and school staff.

As a former teacher, Krall was more concerned about surveys possibly gauging public opinion on a proposed amendment to Missouri law.

Amendment Three would require teacher performance evaluations that would be used to determine whether a teacher should be dismissed, retained, demoted or promoted. With voter support, it would also prevent teachers from collectively bargaining over the terms of these evaluations.

"A test score is what you knew that day. It's what you were tested on and what you were able to say to get things right," Krall said. "But does that really reflect the long term, what you leave the course with, what's become part of your knowledge base?"

Jeff Krall's wife Rachael Krall has been volunteering in Columbia public schools for fourteen years. She said the teachers she has worked with focus on creating quality learning atmospheres, but factors outside the school walls can create challenges.

"It can be difficult to get kids to cooperate when the population you're serving doesn't get support from home," Krall said. "That's not every school, but without parents involved, it can be hard to get kids motivated."

Columbia Public Schools spokesperson Michelle Baumstark wrote in an email:

"The Board Communications Committee met this week to discuss this year's survey. In the past we've done a broader community perception survey, but felt we wanted to dig in a little deeper into what our core audiences are experiencing with the school district this year."

The committee will send out surveys next week.