The district was described as being frustrating to deal with and overly bureaucratic, with comments often directly pertaining to the central office. A number of participants described how difficult it was to work with the central office and explained the complicated processes that they had to go through. Respondents expressed frustration about how long it takes to get the central office to address issues and how challenging interactions can be. We heard similar sentiment from teachers who participated in conversations as well.
Another issue that was frequently discussed was social promotion. Many participants were supporters of holding kids back until they were ready for the next grade, and saw the practice of passing students along who have not yet mastered the required skills as one of the reasons that students are graduating high school unprepared for college.
Many participants shared their support for school choice, and voiced their appreciation of having multiple school options for children. However, there were concerns about school choice as well. Participants shared how challenging the uncertainty of not knowing where your child will go to school is, and how children from the same family might have to attend different schools depending on the results of a lottery. They also discussed how school choice can lead to community challenges, as students and parents feel less neighborhood pride and investment, since they may no longer attend their neighborhood school. An overarching sentiment was that the choice process is very stressful with the concern that, if your child is not accepted (often via lottery) into one of the high-performing schools, the idea of school choice rings hollow.
Finally, respondents shared praise that the district is becoming more data-driven and has increased expectations around accountability. Some participants liked that the district was holding school leaders and teachers accountable for student achievement. There was sentiment that, in the past, evaluations were based on anecdotal evidence, and now the district collects information in a way that allows accountability to be more data-driven.