GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - More information is coming to light now on a controversial
survey regarding Grand Island Public Schools.
Chaperone founder Jeremy Jensen wrote in a letter to the nine members of the GIPS Board of Education that teachers union acted as the primary distributor of the survey.
GIEA President Michelle Carter said members distributed the survey to fellow members through email and texts, but they did not generate the survey.
results released Monday were from 211 teachers who completed the survey and were critical of the school board and GIPS Superintendent Tawana Grover.
There are more than 700 teachers employed within the Grand Island Public Schools district.
Grand Island Public Schools released a statement Wednesday afternoon after Jensen pointed out on his Facebook page that more information was going to be released Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Grand Island Public Schools said in its statement that “this survey in question is more political theater that is more interested in chaos than conversation.”
FULL STATEMENT BELOW:
“We understand the survey making the rounds online has become an area of heated conversation. Moving forward we want to make it clear that the survey is not from Grand Island Public Schools, nor can we speak to the validity of the results.
This survey in question is more political theater that is more interested in chaos than conversation. We will not thrust our staff nor our students or families into the political arena and we do not believe it is fair for others to attempt to force that issue either.
We stand by our teachers and the expertise they bring to the classroom. We also stand alongside our greater community in our shared efforts of strengthening our public schools.
In that light, it was brought to our attention that GIEA participated in deploying the survey. They are, at this moment, the exclusive bargaining agent we negotiate with annually and they have representative voices on multiple committees throughout the district. While they are part of the greater work we have in the district they do not represent the majority of our staff. We absolutely include them in the process of decisions and betterment within the district but we also have to think about all of our staff districtwide. We are disappointed GIEA would choose this divisive avenue rather than opting for collaborative dialogue with us directly.
GIPS is not perfect nor have we ever pretended for it to be. What we are is a wonderfully diverse public school district committed to showing up for every single student. With a student body of nearly 10,000 and a growing staff approaching 1,600 – we are a large, complex organization. We are working through opportunities, challenges, and nuances every single day.
Contrary to what some may claim, we provide numerous open channels of communication and feedback with our staff. With those open communication channels there have always been opportunities to share publicly or anonymously and without any threatened “retribution”. When we say we want to hear from our staff we mean it and support their voices.
We are always on a cycle of continuous improvement. Our teachers are inspiring but they are also tired – as teachers are nationwide. Engaging in damaging political rhetoric does little to provide them the greater support they deserve.
Our educators are the cornerstone of our efforts and we will continue working with them and listening to them to make GIPS better.
The work in front of all of us is too important to be sidelined by antics aimed at causing division among our staff and community rather than building solutions.
We are here for our students, staff, families, and community.”
One portion of the GIPS statement states that members of the Grand Island Education Association “do not represent the majority of our teachers nor our staff.“ GIEA president Michelle Carter said Wednesday that the union has nearly 500 members who are teachers in the district.
Carter also said, “I just want our teachers to be heard and they do not always feel supported and don’t feel like they can always speak what their truth is, because they fear that there will be negative consequences. So many times, they just remain silent, and they just leave. We have not had a voice at the table.”
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