Monthly Archives: December 2010

December School Concert Survey Results

Today, we provide a summary of our December survey. First, I want to thank all those who provided useful and thoughtful responses.

Let’s review the survey topic and the offered responses:

I think that December school concerts:

  • should not be held: scheduling concerts for another time is the only way to avoid controversy over including or not including religious material.
  • should only include secular music and references
  • should include Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and secular winter music, all of which are important parts of our culture
  • shouldn’t be considered a problem if music from multiple religious traditions and secular music are performed, avoiding preference for any stance.
  • should include material that is chosen by its quality and developmental appropriateness, regardless of religious references: i.e., religious music should neither be preferred nor avoided.
  • Other (please specify)

473 people responded to the survey question. Nine votes in the Other category were excluded for irrelevance or obscenity, so 464 votes were counted. Many of the votes in the other category could be classified in the categories offered, but made extended comments.

The category with the most votes—just over a third, is the one that recommends choosing solely on the criteria of music quality and appropriateness. In second place, with just under 30 percent of the vote, is the category saying that music should be chosen to represent Christian, Jewish, Kwanzaa, and secular traditions. Third place went to a more general support of multiple traditions, without specification. And fourth place comes from a large subset of the Other responses that want either mostly or entirely Christmas music to be performed at the December school concert. This group included many references to the Bible-based heritage of our country, and some decried the political correctness of working to recognize a broader range of traditions. A few respondents that promoted Christian-based concerts also manifested intolerance: in addition to answering the survey question, they chose to attack other traditions in their answer and/or insult people who don’t think as they do.

A small group of Other respondents also suggested that because of the amount of time and the plethora of other commitments in December, it is not an appropriate time to hold a concert.

The charts below provide a complete breakdown of the responses in percentages, a bar graph, and a pie chart.

"Choose Quality" Leads in December School Concert Survey

Our December survey poses the open-ended starter:

I think December school concerts:

and gives voters the following completion choices—

• should not be held: scheduling concerts for another time is the only way to avoid controversy over including or not including religious material.

• should only include secular music and references.

• should include Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and secular winter music, all of which are important parts of our culture.

• shouldn’t be considered a problem if music from multiple religious traditions and secular music are performed, avoiding preference for any stance.

• should include material that is chosen by its quality and developmental appropriateness, regardless of religious references: i.e., religious music should neither be preferred nor avoided.

• other (please specify)

With 277 responses (9 excluded for irrelevance or obscenity), the vote for choosing music based on its quality regardless of other factors is the clear leader with 37% of the vote.

‘Other’ responses—which will be collated when the final vote is tallied—include a number of opinions that December school concerts should be Christmas concerts.

Below, you can view the halfway tally in two different ways. The first shows bars, percentages, and actual numbers of votes. The second displays the results in a pie chart.

If you haven’t yet voted, please go to our December concert survey and let us know your opinion.

School Fundraiser Article Round-Up

Today we’ve posted the third article in our mini-series on school fundraisers.

School fundraising has long been popular, but for many, it has become increasingly necessary. In more and more locations, school fundraisers provide key elements of education not covered by the regular school budget, and/or extras that are either considered indispensable or highly desirable.

For schools that were previously well-funded and are new to this type of fundraising, this mini-series may give you ideas for ways to get started. For schools that have long been practiced in raising money, we hope to provide you with some fresh ideas.

The first article, Why Have School Fundraisers?” discusses the reasons why schools may choose to have fundraisers. Fundraisers can be undertaken to support special activities (a trip), an underfunded program, or an “extra” expense, such as uniforms. They may be undertaken by the PTA, a school booster association, or students.

The second article, Choosing a School Fundraiser,” introduces approaches and criteria that can be useful in deciding the type of fundraiser that best suits the purposes you have in mind.

Our new article, “Types of School Fundraisers” provides a number of suggestions for school fundraising options, including one-time or intermittent fundraisers (such as Car Washes) and long-term, ongoing fundraisers, some of which, like running a school store, can be integrated with learning opportunities. In running a school store, for example, students can learn about decision making, marketing, pricing, sales, and customer service.

If nothing here grabs your attention, and you want something really fresh, you could go for a Harry Potter themed fundraiser and try hosting a Muggle Quidditch match to raise money, as the students of Transylvania University in Kentucky just did as a fundraiser for the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. If you need more pointers about Quidditch in order to do the thing properly, check out the International Quidditch Association website, where you can download the rules used at the college level (and adapt them if necessary for your school).

New Article on Why to Have School Fundraisers

Our new article, titled “Why Have School Fundraisers?” explores seven reasons that a special fundraising effort may be worth considering.

The first is a budget shortfall. Unfortunately, school budgets may not cover all the areas that are deemed important.

The second is that—even at a school with adept grant writers available—grants aren’t made to cover all needs.

The third is for uniforms, whether for athletic teams or the marching band.

For the other reasons, and for more information about each of the reasons, read the new article.

To pursue this issue in more depth, read the related article “Choosing a School Fundraiser.”

And look for “Types of School Fundraisers,” coming up next week.

Education and Voting Survey Final Results

Today, as we begin December, we present the final results of our November poll which asked you to respond to the question:

How did education figure in your voting in the mid-term elections?

The response options offered were:

• I didn’t vote

• Education was the top consideration for me, period.

• Education was an important consideration for me in local races, but not in national races.

• Education was an important consideration for me in national races, but not in local races.

• Education took a backseat to other issues, such as the economy and healthcare, in my voting decisions.

• Education issues never play an important part in my voting decisions.

• Other (please specify)

There were a total of 405 votes, so thank you very much for that! Six votes were discarded as being off-topic and/or obscene, leaving 399 votes.

While there were 25 votes of ‘Other,’ in many cases, the short description allowed these votes to be recast as votes for other provided categories. For example, 10 other votes were explanations for why the person taking the survey could not, did not, or was not able to vote, so—while the explanations were appreciated as providing addition insight, the percentages were recalculated with those 10 votes counting in the first category, ‘I didn’t vote.’

Based on the comments in ‘Other,’ two new answer categories were created:

• Education is one (important) consideration among others. (9 respondents)

• Education was important in both local and national races. (2 respondents)

Three responses were left categorized as other because they didn’t fit any other category, but of particular interest was the response that said that the person had been moved to take an active role in the midterm elections on account of education.

Here are the results showing the original totals as well as the recalculation of the votes in the ‘Other’ category. The most votes were received by “Education was the top consideration for me, period,” but it was closely followed by respondents who did not vote. Nevertheless, the percentage who took the survey and didn’t vote is far less than the national average, not only because the percentage is less absolutely, but because a number of those who responded are too young to vote, and therefore are not counted in official figures of voters, which take only registered voters into account.

Our December survey will be published in the next few days, so please keep an eye out and cast your vote.