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LA Unified makes a second call, to apologize for phone survey glitch

Mike Szymanski | September 30, 2015

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CortinesAngryIn a district striving to infuse computer technology in public education, LA Unified is struggling to complete a phone survey asking five questions.

About 550,000 phone calls went out from Sept. 25 through yesterday to ask families about their priorities for the school calendar for the next three years. By late yesterday, another phone call had apologized for a glitch that kept some people from answering the survey.

Superintendent Ramon Cortines kicked off the effort in a call telling families a survey was on the way. Later, a post-survey call came, conveying his apology: “While more than 58,000 people have responded to the survey, some parents and guardians have indicated that the call was cut off before they could answer any questions on the survey.”

“Again, I deeply apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused,” the message said. “We look forward to fixing these issues, and appreciate your time and thoughtful feedback. If you have responded to the survey, please disregard this message.”

The phone survey won’t be completely redone, but calls will go out over the next few days to those who did not answer the survey, or were unable to complete it. The questions focused on various options about the school year, including the length of winter break, whether school should start before or after Labor Day and if secondary and elementary schedules should be the same.

Two parents who were cut off during the phone survey over the weekend said they tried to answer over their cell phones. The district said the system is very sensitive, so if it detected background noise, the survey was cut off.

The follow-up call did not explain when another call would come, nor how parents could request a new call or register their complaints.

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