Guest Opinion: Why the WPSD Facilities Survey Cannot be Relied On

Freedom Watch News
Published 03/11/2023 3 minute read

Pew Research has reported that perhaps the most important part

of the survey process is the creation of questions that accurately

measure the opinions, experiences and behaviors of the public.

Accurate random sampling is wasted if the information gathered is

built on a shaky foundation of ambiguous or biased questions.

Creating good measures involves both writing good questions and

organizing them to form the questionnaire.

Pew goes on to say that one of the most significant decisions that

can affect how people answer questions is whether the question

is posed as an open-ended question where respondents provide

a response in their own words, or a closed-ended question, where

they are asked to choose from a list of answer choices.

1) Research confirms that If participants are given an

opportunity to volunteer an option on the list, the survey will

produce a much different outcome. In the November 2022

WPSD survey, the questions were all closed-ended.

Participants were not given the opportunity to provide a

response in their own words.

2) In addition to the number and choice of response options

offered, the order of answer categories can influence

how people respond to closed-ended questions.

Research suggests that in self-administered surveys, they

tend to choose items at the top of the list (known as a

“primacy” effect). As an example, we see evidence of this

bias on the survey under the Question,

“What is your preference for 6th Grade”.

The first choice is: “6th graders in the Middle School.

3) Along with all of that, the Survey was weighted:

a) Merit Parents & Staff did not get a survey even though

they are stakeholders in the WPSD.

b) Parents were sent one survey per child they have in the

district - not one per household.

c) Teachers with students in the district received one survey

per child plus a teacher survey

d) Former district employees were also sent a survey – that

alone creates serious integrity issues.

e) The Survey did not include WPSD taxpayers who are also

stakeholders and are ultimately responsible for funding

the schools.

There are potentially 3 times as many voters in the WPSD than

parents and teachers. If the administration were truly looking for

stakeholder feedback regarding school spending, utilization of

buildings, etc. why did they not include all stakeholders in their


In the last 2 decades, WPSD has seen a 36% decline in

enrollment. Merit has experienced a 15% growth just last year

alone. In order for our district to thrive and to utilize our hard-

earned tax dollars effectively, we have to provide room where the

growth Is happening. That’s just common sense. So I ask, did we

really need to spend $8500 on such an ambiguous survey? If in

the future, the board, district or superintendent want to create a

survey before decisions are made, I respectfully request that they

survey ALL STAKEHOLDERS and take the time to professionally

craft a survey that will give them more accurate information going


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