Google Reviews: Not Just for the Service Industry
November 6, 2018
Students capitalize on obscure Google feature
“Google it” the saving grace of all family arguments. The search engine has broken into every tech field and it is working its competitors, from Google Photo combating the Cloud, to Google Pixel fighting Apple and Samsung, to Google Drive throwing punches at Microsoft Office, and even making Alexa sweat, it’s no wonder that Google has replaced word of mouth recommendations with Google Reviews.
Yes, that star rating you rely on to avoid rat infested restaurants or cockroach run casinos. These reviews are available to everyone, so if you have access and an opinion you can bless the people with it. There isn’t a limit on what you can review, so, along with the Pacific Ocean, Park High School has a fair share of reviews.
Many students have turned to this format for self-expression. They vary in content, some immensely vague, others poetic descriptions of how they felt mistreated or had been spoken to in a “taunting” way. One review went as far as to call the school, “a prison… If not literally than ideologically.”
Because of the nature of Google Reviews Teachers and staff also have reviews including principal Lynne Scalia who commented on the, “Incredible students, teachers, community support!!” This received backlash from other reviewers who said it’s ironic that, “The Teachers and staff posting great reviews of the school while the students, the ones who are suffering, are letting out the truth.”
Not all the students are leaving negative reviews; some former students left very positive reviews while they were here. The varying reviews make it hard to use Google Review at it is was intended, to give an overall vibe of the place.
Senior Adam Lewis who had left a review at one point reflected on the state of education on a national scale saying. “it’s nice to voice your opinion, but, in all reality, you should know that it won’t do a lot because the problems with school systems aren’t at a local level.”
The question is what to do with these comments. Do you ignore it, fueling the students’ anger about being forgotten by the school, or do you respond and start an internet argument? Lewis also recommended that, “Teachers would have to really choose consciously which person they’re commenting on, which kind of comment it is because you could really start a fire.” Later commenting, “Maybe don’t comment online but maybe walk up to them in person and say ‘this is what I thought of your comment and here’s my opinion.’”
Principal’s advisory and the school board meetings are alternatives to this method of venting frustration there are alternatives Lewis agrees but stood by the review saying, “It was kinda a half-assed way of saying here’s my opinion. I didn’t really stand up for anything, I got behind a keyboard, but anyone who’s reading it might think that it’s a good point.”
Park High isn’t the only school where this happens, many schools across Montana and the nation that are on the Google Rating system, but many of these schools have a more reasonable 3.5 score average as opposed to the 1.8 stars at PHS, at the time this was published.
Another thought was that it’s a funny gag. Students at other schools seem to follow this theme, or are more brief with their distaste for the school. While Park High has a few like that, such as, “ESKETITTT. i aint bout it straight up G” or “LOOK MORTY!! IM PICKLE RIIIIIICK!!,” others give an essay of information about how they feel hurt, betrayed, or forgotten.
“Why is this a thing?”
Why would you allow reviews on a place people are required to be? For businesses, that rating is crucial, so owners will often respond to these to try and make amends with the upset customer. For a school, this is harder.
Students don’t often name specific teachers or specific events because they must be there every day. Too many things happen every day to get exact with it, so students leave vague responses that get even more vague results.
There are ways to have your voice heard that are more effective and let people who can do something know. My advice would be to avoid Google as an outlet for voicing your opinion. It’s not going to solve the problem, and it’s a weak way to make an impact. Have the courage to meet with someone from the administration and approach them in a respectful manner; you’ll get better results.
In addition, this 1.8 rating is a poor reflection of a school and staff that try really hard to help students. Even some of the very negative reviews acknowledge that there are teachers who put a lot into their students to help them. Most students don’t have a comparison to realize what they might have at Park High.
This also has a direct effect on a new student’s willingness to come to the school which is a problem when trying to get new students to give our school a chance. The final questions are what do we do about this? And why does Google have this interface? Some schools have taken up a fight with Google’s invasion of this technology as well, but it is unsure if these will go anywhere.