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Any other parents feel that greatschools.net is too biased in their review process of parental feedback?


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Anonymous May 21, 2009


The school my child attends has had chronic problems with bullying. Families I have known have resorted to taking their children out of the school and even home-schooling because of this issue. When I have tried to provide this feedback on greatschools, my review was unaccepted and the school's rating of "10" has remained. None of the parents I have spoken to at my child's school would give it a 10. I am curious to know if other parents feel that the greatschools rating of their public school is similarly inflated. Thank you.

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OneOutof5 May 22, 2009


I also tried to provide a review which presented information about the rampant bullying and theft that goes unchecked out our local middle school. The review was denied without a reason provided. I think parents should be advised about such problems and how those problems are or are not handled at a school they're considering for their child. Forewarned is forearmed. Unfortunately, my child entered the school without having parents who truly understood that he would be dealing with dangerous situations on a daily basis with little or no support from teachers or administrators. Sorry if "Great Schools" only wants to have us say "schools are great" -- because that's just unrealistic and unhelpful.

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tjlove May 22, 2009


Hi,
We really appreciate your feedback on our parent review process and strive to make it a fair process for all parties involved.

I'm sorry your review was not accepted. We do allow both positive and negative reviews, but if your review contains any negative factual information we won't post it.

It helps greatly if you state your review as an opinion. For example, you could say, "It's my opinion that bullying is a problem at this school and the school could address it better." As opposed to something like, "Bullying is a problem and the administration does nothing about it."

You can read more about our guidelines here: www.greatschools.net/cgi-bin/static/guidelines.html/mi/

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OneOutof5 May 22, 2009


Please advise me what, specifically, was unacceptable about my review. I was honest and forthright; I believe that parents should be aware of the bullying and the theft that is part of my son's school's culture. A parent considering the middle school should have the right to prepare their children with the skills necessary to navigate among predatory students. I would have appreciated it if another parent would have advised me of the out-of-control bullying that is permitted at the school, for example, so that I could have advised my son better. My initial response to his complaints about one specific bully was to ignore it or tell the teacher. Ignoring it did not work at all. My son was physically attacked by the bully. It was reported and the teacher said that he would make sure that my son was not left unsupervised with the bully. However, within the week, the teacher had placed my son on the same team with the bully and they bully's friends. My son was physically injured not to mention the mental torture he routinely received from this bully and his pals (all of the other students were older than my son -- he was dumped in a class with all 8th graders and our requests to have him switched to be with students his own age were outright refused until my husband took off work and met with school officials). Therefore the tell the teacher or even the administrators was not the appropriate form of action really, nothing is really handled at all -- just lots of politically correct verbage (garbage really). The bully who attacked my son was not disciplined at all -- zilch, zero, nada, nothing -- he gets away with bullying, not just my son either, other kids as well. (His mother is a teacher at an elementary school nearby too interestingly enough.) When questioned about what he did to my son, the bully said, "Gee, golly, gee, whiz, I didn't mean nuthin' by it," and all was forgiven by the administration. "Gee, Maam, Bigtime Wrestler Boy didn't mean to put your son in a headlock and have the other kids urinate on him -- they wuz just havin' a little fun, Maam." We were told that we should be happy that our son would not be suspended (for defending himself!!!)...

My son was unprepared. He's shy and reserved; he was shocked by the profanity and the vulgar behaviors he's witnessed in addition to the bullies and thieves. Other parents should be aware that they need to prepare their children in some way. Now, in speaking with other parents, I'm told that my son's maltreatment is commonplace. Schools choose to ignore reports or complaints because they don't want to record them -- they don't want their school labelled for what it is -- a crime-infested cesspool most of the time.

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buckaroo May 22, 2009


Do you hold the same standard for positive reviews? Do you force folks to say "In my opinion, the principal it this school always listens to parental input."
Would you kick out one that omitted the "in my opinion" phrase?
Aren't all parental reviews in fact opinions?

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OneOutof5 May 22, 2009


If "Great Schools" is truly committed to helping parents, then parents need to be allowed to notify one another of specific incidents based on their personal experiences. I''ve read and re-read the requirements for posting. I do not use profanity or obscenities. I do not use hateful language, in my opinion; perhaps my adjectures conjure up specific images but I do not hate-monger in any way. I did not state anything that I can not substantiate based on what we've actually experienced (the fact that the school chooses to pretend that a crime did not occur--most parents have neither the time or resources or access to serious law enforcement, or the legal system, to actually have these crimes properly investigated -- the schools are self-monitoring and the police do not want to get involved normally unless it is on the side of a teacher or administrator Not a student or a parent -- they're powerless.) Additionally, people who think they need to go along with the lies about how great a school district is in order to keep their property values high -- those folks are as guilty as the school officials themselves. Greed and dishonesty can never be right or good, period. Those folks who ostracize a neighbor who complains about a school problem while choosing to just deal with and hide the junk dumped on their on kids -- or worse, the parents of the children who are actually doing the stealing and bullying -- they too are guilty.

It is one thing to give a person's name and comment that the person has committed a crime. (I did not do that. My mother is a retired attorney so I'm well aware of what the 1st Amendment insures and what it doesn't insure.) My contention is that crimes are occuring at my child's school and those crimes are not being addressed properly. It is not libelous to state your opinion that someone, particularly a public official, is not doing a job properly (it's slander if you name a person and say that he or she is doing a lousy job because he or she is an alcoholic or a drug addict, and you have no concrete proof of that, etc. -- I have not said nothing of that kind of thing at all, no names and no personalized comments). The fact is that this school and others routinely have crimes occur and then the crimes are dismissed, never recorded, in order that the school can pretend that it is a safe, wholesome enviornment (which it clearly is not). Great Schools should be supporting parents who want to improve their schools -- put the lamp on the table, I say. Shine the light of truth on what's going on and perhaps we will see the problems corrected.

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maggie93215 May 22, 2009


hi oneoutof5, I think when you want to post something you have to say, " I think" or, "In my opinion, "I feel", I believe, anything that suggests that your stating something that is your opinion. Try that, hope it helps. I have been on this site off and on, I like that the fact the you can read and share your views or and opinions. Yes, sometimes we (the visitors to this site) don't agree on things but that is what is great about this site, you don't have to agree!!

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buckaroo May 22, 2009


Maggie,
It doesn't help.

Making it more difficult to post a negative review skews the information to make it more positive for the school. How would you like it if you moved to a new neighborhood based on all the wonderful parent reviews provided on this site. Then you find out how horrible the school is from parents that TRIED to warn others here, but was censored.

Unless positive reviews are treated similarly, the information provided is useless... actually worse than useless because it can cause harm.

This is a post from a parent review (with the school name removed):
"XXX is an excellent school with the most caring principal and staff. Excellent music programs, full day kindergarten offerered, more small group instruction than I have ever seen any school offer."

Shouldn't this read differently... shouldn't this say:

"I THINK XXX is an excellent school. It is my opinion that they offer excellent music programs, full day kindergarten, and more small group instruction than any other school."

If they impose rules for negatives, the same rules need to apply for positives to avoid giving parents false information. Information these parents use to make life choices, important choices, like where do we live.


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OneOutof5 May 22, 2009


maggie93215 - I appreciate your suggestion. In my school review, I specifically prefaced the review with "in my opininon" even though a review is automatically an opinion. While we need to be prudent about what we post, I believe that honesty is the most important aspect of a review. Wouldn't you agree?

buckaroo: You're 100% correct.

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MomfromMA May 22, 2009


So, I can say: "The school is great and they really helped my son." but I cannot say "There is a problem with the special education process in my school and it hurt my son".

Do I understand correctly, because it seems to me that, in this case, the process is desperately biased toward the school. It is not helpful at all.

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DeborahHamilto May 22, 2009


I like Greatschool.net I think it is great because we as parents can express ourself about whats going on in our schools.I have been help alot from some of the parents and leaders here on greatschool.
Greatschool has my vote!!!!!!!



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