reporter evaluation

New York

Reader survey on the value GothamSchools adds and subtracts

An excerpt from our report summarizing the results of our reader survey. Most of you, dear readers, don't fall neatly into either the Joel Klein or the Diane Ravitch camps on education, and even more of you don't find GothamSchools ideological. (Phew! Not being ideological is our goal.) These are among the findings of our first-ever nonscientific reader survey. You can read our full breakdown in this report. Our aim is to use the survey findings as fuel for self-improvement. For instance, there seems to be something going on with the comments section. On one hand, almost 30 percent of responders described the comments section as "very useful," and a strong 41 percent of respondents reported commenting "every so often." Among the silent readers, a few reported keeping quiet despite using the comments to shape an opinion. "I visit Gotham to learn from others," one wrote. But most of the responders who didn't comment said it was because of the tone of the comments that are posted. These people peppered their feedback with words like "vitriol" and "offensive." "I love Gotham Schools but the commenters are nasty!" one wrote. "I'd never want to enter into that fray!" A few more responses along those lines: I find the comments are generally people with overly opinionated, yet unsubstantiated views that they want desperately to share but have nobody willing to listen. I stopped. The comment section has deteriorated from thoughtful commentary to an arena of hysterics, mudslinging, and proselytizing. It degraded from NYT comments to Daily News comments. Not a good forum for productive conversation--talking at people, not with them