Got gripes? Fill out military-life survey
Stars and Stripes May 28, 2004
Kids tired of pigs in a blanket? Want their school to offer underwater origami?
Here’s a chance to vent.
The U.S. military’s European headquarters hopes families will fill out the 7,000 surveys it has recently mailed around the continent. The U.S. European Command’s Quality of Life Branch wants to know how families rate the services the military provides, particularly to children.
The Department of Defense Dependents Schools system is the subject of most of the questions, which touch on topics from sports and school lunches to security. The military sent the survey to a sampling of the 48,000 families with school-age children in the theater. The answers also help it determine whether parents are choosing to send their children to other international schools, host-nation schools or whether parents teach them at home.
“If your child does go to DODDS, then how do you feel about those programs?” said Pamela Smith, chief of the project.
In the past, teachers, curriculums and safety have scored highly. But the choices of sports and other after-school activities got fewer kudos compared with schools in the United States.
Answers are due Monday, though this homework should only take about 15 minutes.
The surveys are designed and distributed by theater-level officials in Stuttgart and have nothing directly to do with the school system.
“It’s totally run by EUCOM,” said Frank O’Gara, the schools spokesman in Europe. “The returns don’t come to us at all until EUCOM gets the data and crunches it and then shares it with us.”
O’Gara said that once done, school officials take the survey seriously.
“It’s an important instrument from our perspective in that it gives us one more look at how customers feel about the education we’re providing.”
If previous results are a guide, things look pretty good in the book department. But in addition to the extracurricular, Smith said one subject often comes up as an annual beef: lunches.
“That’s another big initiative we have going,” she said.