Thursday, September 19, 2013

The "New Clothes Parade" Goes National

Looks like the "new clothes parade" is now going national.  Check out the following link:

This is for a national TASH conference that Kurt Schneider, Assistant Superintendent of Learning (Pupil Services) is going to be presenting at in Chicago on December 12.  (According to its website, TASH is an organization that promotes equity, opportunity and Inclusion for people with Disabilities.)

The TASH conference website describes Schneider's session as:

Research and implementation efforts necessary to create systemically united high performing schools for ALL students of all abilities at all organizational levels in a school district. Grounded in the non-negotiable principles of inclusive schooling from Capper & Frattura (2009), participants will learn how to move a school district systematically forward and share the improved student achievement results that occur as a result.”

This is the same 4-day conference (December 11 – 14) that Dr. Schuster explained at the 9/9/13 Board Meeting that Schneider and other administrators, teachers and parents are going to attend.

As Concerned Parents, we are fine with the head of the special education department (Schneider) attending special education conferences, and perhaps even presenting at them.  However, our problem with this particular conference is that his presentation seems to be about the Learning for All Plan that is being rolled out in D181 for ALL students, and we wouldn’t be surprised if D181 will serve as the “data” source for any research that is presented at this conference by Schneider.  The description says it all:

The plan or “efforts” that will be discussed purport to impact ALL students, of ALL abilities and at ALL levels – not just those with disabilities.  The efforts are “grounded” in NON-NEGOTIABLE principles of INCLUSION (the inverted, heterogeneous model that is now being rammed down the throats of all students and teachers in D181).  And, these principles are those developed by Capper and Frattura – his former colleagues at University of Wisconsin, and fellow presenters at the Social Justice symposiums he has taught at the last two summers.  (Same conference that 7 D181 administrators attended for a full week this summer.)

The description assumes that these “efforts” will result in “improved student achievement.” 

BUT WHERE ARE THE CLOTHES????  Where is the data that shows that this model has worked in the past in high achieving districts like D181?  Where is the data that shows that this model is working NOW in D181 for ANY of our students – from those with disabilities to the highest cognitive thinkers?  We have yet to see this “improved achievement” data and it is time the administration published it for everyone to “see.” We haven’t heard Schneider’s mantra of “raise the floor to raise the ceiling” in quite some time.  Why not?  Where is the data on this?  Is it actually happening in D181?

Before we continue the “new clothes” parade, it needs to be halted for some actual data collection and reporting.

Why is any D181 administrator jumping the gun and racing ahead to proclaim success when so far, there is none to be shown?  Why are the D181 School Board and Superintendent so intent on thrusting D181 into the national spotlight?  Why send another round of administrators and this time working teachers (who will have to miss 3 days of instruction) to this conference?  And it they do go, why don’t’ they only send the lead Special Education administrator in the district and have him share what was learned with all staff within the district? Why didn’t they do this after the summer “institute?”

Why not focus on the local needs of our children, and ensure that something is actually working successfully? Keep the teachers in the classroom for now.  Keep the administrators working in their offices for now.  Is that too much to ask?


Anonymous said...

Here is the truth: While many parents have placed their full trust in the BOE and the administrator to do right by their children, Drs Schuster and Schneider have been focused on "inverting" the entire district on its head with no accountability or solid evidence to back up their claims of "celebration." Isn't is interesting that Kurt Schneider has time to devote to his public speaking jaunts while giving interviews to the local press instead of fixing the mess he has created.

Anonymous said...

So, our district is again sending administrators and teachers to a workshop to hear their own administrator present unfounded ideas. Who is paying for this? Is there a reason these unfounded ideas cannot be presented at a teacher meeting without making our students spend three days without their teachers? Why?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps understanding this system can help undo several things everyone regrets. Interestingly, nobody asks people abetting district dismantling effective dedicated classrooms "equalize levels logically."