CTM Notifies CPS of Flawed Survey

CTM Trustees voted on May 2 to notify CPS of flaws in the survey that CPS sent to Clifton-area families during April. The full letter is detailed below.

May 9, 2016

Ericka Copeland-Dansby, President Cincinnati Board of Education
Mary Ronan, Superintendent Cincinnati Public Schools
Melanie Bates, Vice President CPS BOE
Eve Bolton, Member CPS BOE
Carolyn Jones, Member CPS BOE
Daniel Minera, Member CPS BOE
A. Chris Nelms, Member CPS BOE

Dear President Copeland-Dansby, Superintendent Ronan, and Members of the Board of Education,

I am writing to you on behalf of Clifton Town Meeting (CTM) regarding the recent survey sent to some of our residents by Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS). Based on recent comments by Superintendent Ronan we understand the intention is to use these survey results for making decisions related to a neighborhood school for Clifton, CUF, and Spring Grove Village. We believe this survey to be incapable of providing any meaningful information on which to base decisions about a neighborhood school.
Please understand that we do not like having to address this problem after the fact, or in public. We regret that we can find no other recourse to prevent the misuse of the survey data. This could have been avoided had we not been shut out of the process:

• Prior to the distribution of the survey, several of our Trustees conveyed concerns to CPS about its questions
• On March 23, the Superintendent agreed to send us the final version with April 15 the due date for comments
• At our April 4 board meeting, President Copeland-Dansby presented a new version of the survey for our review and comment
• We sent it to several experts who found serious problems and offered to work with your survey people, to which Superintendent Ronan agreed (April 11)
• But on April 13, the Superintendent told us we were too late and that the survey had been sent out – without letting us see this new version, and prior to the due date for comments, and inexplicably contrary to her express agreement not two days earlier.
• Since then, our experts have evaluated this new version and are unanimous in finding it unreliable if not misleading. Their complete reviews and credentials are attached.

Clifton has long been a strong supporter of Cincinnati Public Schools and wants to continue this support. We campaign for school levies, raise money for schools, volunteer time and resources to enrich students’ experiences, and are passionate about the value of education for all children. Part of that support includes taking responsibility for helping head off problems we see coming. We tried to head off the survey problem: we warned the Administration that the survey was flawed, but it was sent out anyway. Now we are alerting you that if the survey results are used, they will only lead to bad decisions. That is one very important issue, yet there is a bigger one underlying it, and that is the exclusion of CTM from the planning process. We were led to expect that collaboration would be welcome, but I am sad to report that our experience has not borne this out. What do we need to do to achieve this mutual goal?

At this time, there is a unique opportunity to have a process with strong participation from the community. The need to address the overcrowding at Fairview-Clifton German Language School, the desire to save the CCAC, and the need to provide reliable access to excellent education have inspired our community to work together toward the best outcome possible. Clifton has long been a strong supporter of Cincinnati Public Schools and wants to continue this support. We want to be partners with you and bring our passion, creativity, and all our other resources together to create outstanding educational opportunities for all children in Clifton and beyond.

As previously expressed in motions of our Board and communications from our Trustees, we want to collaborate with CPS to develop a process that includes our participation and involvement in the proposals for Clifton. Please let us work with you to develop this process.

Sincerely,

Eric Urbas
President, Clifton Town Meeting

*** Click Evaluation of April 2016 CPS Survey by Research Professionals to read the analysis referenced in the letter. ***