‘It’s worse than I thought’: Chaperone survey reveals alarming results

Local4 News at 10
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 11:23 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Chaperone conducted a new survey of 211 teachers that has sent shockwaves across the Grand Island Public School system.

The political action group has taken aim at the embattled school district for months.

The survey focused on job satisfaction and the teachers’ feelings toward district leadership. According to Chaperone’s president, Tommy Wald, the driving force behind this survey was mistrust in the district.

“The motivation behind it was because we felt like we weren’t getting straight answers from the administration and the Board of Education,” Wald said.

Teachers were asked to agree or disagree with statements such as, “GIPS is a better place to work now than when I first started.” Seventy-two percent of respondents said they strongly disagreed with that statement. And just like that very question, it was the goal of Chaperone to keep the survey simple.

“We want to be as transparent as possible about it,” Wald said. “We don’t think it needs to be a big production. You ask the question, show the results. End of story.”

The only part of the survey that was not “fully transparent” was the identity of those who filled it ou. That has garnered criticism from some GIPS board members.

A new survey, of 211 teachers, is sending shockwaves across the Grand Island Public School system.

“It’s tough, right,” GIPS Board of Education member Josh Hawley said. “When we hold a survey within GIPS, we know exactly where those are coming from. When it’s coming from an outside source, I would guess the only way to validate that would be to put forth the information for who took the survey. And I don’t see that happening.”

Chaperone had a very specific reason for why respondents identities were kept anonymous.

“We had 680-some people went to the site, and then eventually dropped off,” Wald said. “We think the reason is because one of the questions asked is, ‘Do you fear retribution for answering these questions?’ And 75% of the respondents said, ‘Yes.”

According to one GIPS board member, that fear of retribution can have an impact on anyone in any job.

“I think for all of us that have been employed at some point or another, we always have that idea of, ‘Well, if I say something, there is fear of retribution,’” Carlos Barcenas said.

Chaperone wanted to give a safe space for teachers to report how they felt about their work environment. The survey did bring up an alarming number of teachers who have thought of leaving the district. Of the teachers polled, over 83% said they have thought about leaving GIPS, but one board members said that’s a nationwide issue.

“I think we know we have been going through, not just locally, as a nation, we’ve gone though COVID, through so many things, that I think people are tired,” Barcenas said. “There has been a teacher shortage.”

As for Chaperone, they see a teacher shortage that goes beyond any national average.

“Chaperone is very concerned with the lack of teachers and we are losing them at a higher rate than the national average and we think we’re losing the teachers who have been here the longest, which is a real problem for Grand Island Public Schools,” Wald said.

For full results of the Chaperone survey, visit the link here.