Parents give schools higher rating in ‘08

By natalie shields

A new city Department of Education study found that more parents, students and educators are taking part in surveys that rate satisfaction with city schools, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The 2008 Learning Environment Survey, administered in March, found that 92 percent of parents were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of their child's education, an increase from 88 percent of the 2006-2007 school year.

The exercise allowed students, educators, and parents to rate their experiences and express their opinions about their local schools. Participation in the program, which is in its second year, increased 55 percent and involved more than 800,000 participants, the mayor said.

“No one has ever attempted a school survey of this magnitude,” Bloomberg said during a press conference Tuesday at the High School of Applied Communication, located in a LaGuardia Community College building at 30-20 Thomson Ave. in Long Island City.

The response rates from parents rose from 26 percent to 40 percent, while the response rates from teachers jumped from 44 percent to 61 percent, the mayor said.

In addition, 74 percent of teachers surveyed said that order and discipline were maintained in their schools that year, compared to 68 percent of teachers during the previous year.

The survey also found that 72 percent of students said that they felt safer in hallways, bathrooms, and locker rooms in their schools, as opposed to the 68 percent who said they did in last year.

“Our crime statistics also show that our schools are getting safer,” Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said.

But an estimated 40 percent of students who feel their school does not offer a wide enough variety of classes.

Bloomberg said that feedback from students, parents and teachers continue to be highly valued by the city and changes are constantly being incorporated to improve city schools.

“When you take a look at the grades, they show that we're making progress,” said Bloomberg, referencing state exams which showed improvement in New York City schools. “If you make a little progress everyday you'd be surprised as to how far you come. The voices of even more teachers, parents and children will help our schools make even greater strides in the coming school year.”

Nathan Duke also contributed to this story.

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