More than 80 percent of the parents with children in Arlington public schools who took part in a recent opinion poll rated the school system excellent or good, school officials announced this week.
Superintendent Larry Cuban called the results "striking" considering that the school system has been undergoing "traumatic" changes, including a declining enrollment that forced the closure of four schools in the last two years. He and school board member Ann Broder called the results a "status report of consumer satisfaction."
The questionnaires were sent to the parents in January, and approximately 6,500 - half of the parents in the county - returned them, school officials said. It was the fourth survey made of parents since 1972.
Generally, the parents rated school operation highly. At least 60 percent gave good or excellent marks to communications from the school system, human relations in the system (how well students, teachers and parents get along with one another), libraries and media centers, opportunities to communicate with local school administrators and faculty and school health services.
Among the elementary programs rated highly by parents of elementary students were:
Language arts, where more than 77 percent said it was excellent or good, and 16 percent said it was weak or poor.
Reading, with more than 81 percent excellent or good and 13.8 percent weak or poor.
Mathematics, with more than 80 percent excellent or good and more than 15 percent weak or poor.
Social studies, with more than 67 percent excellent or good and 17.5 percent weak or poor.
Science, with more than 63 percent excellent or good and 20.5 percent weak or poor.
Among the secondary programs rated by parents of secondary students were:
English, with more than 67 percent excellent or good and more than 26 percent weak or poor.
Math, with more than 77 percent excellent or good and 19 percent weak or poor.
Social studies, with 73 percent excellent or good and 17.9 percent weak or poor.
Science, with more than 68 percent excellent or good and 19.3 percent weak or poor.
One of the higher ratings of disapproval came, however, in the area of teaching "basic skills." More than 36 percent of the parents said they did not believe the school system focused "sufficiently" on basic skills, while 49 percent said it did. Fourteen percent of the parents said they did not know.
The past three surveys taken of the parents used different question and the results can not be directly compared. However, in 1972 almost 74 percent of the parents rated the school excellent or good. In 1974, a survey showed 72 percent of the parents either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that Arlington school are doing a good job, and in 1976 the statistics revealed that 82 percent of the parents rated the system as excellent or good.