Concerned parents should come forward once again and convince the Board of Education to address not only the Curriculum Concerns, but also the newly identified "Donoroo" fundraising debacle first brought to our attention in a comment posted on the 10/16/13 Post on "The Experimentation on our Children Must Stop."
As we state in our response comment," "It is time the Board Members realize that they need to ask Dr. Schuster and her administrators some tough questions and get answers, not spin.
ANONYMOUS TEACHER'S COMMENT
Dear 181 Blog,
I am a teacher in our school district. I have never been so disheartened and dismayed at the morale of teachers and the state of education in District 181. What happened? We went from a fully high functioning district with a handful of higher level administrators to a district with a huge increase in the amount of administrators, with little experience in the area of their supposed expertise. These leaders want to take all that is good and change it to their vision. The students are ultimately the ones who will lose.
The "Learning for All" (aka Advanced Learning) directive is one of those ideas that appears good on paper and fails in reality. One of the goals of this directive is to eventually get rid of the bubbles of support educators--reading specialists, special education teachers, academic strategy teachers, gifted specialists etc. Right now, administration wants these teachers to "push in." We now have our most fragile and needy students trying to receive support in a classroom where other things are going on. How do we expect them to focus? Is it fair to have them working in the corner of the room? Eventually, the district wants to put all of those students in our classrooms and let the regular education teacher meet their needs. I was told that I need to "increase my capacity." I think I do a pretty good job meeting the needs in my classroom, but I am NOT a special education, reading, or gifted teacher. I do not have the specialized education that they do. And, for years, I have witnessed students growing under and with these "special" teachers and classes. I am outraged that a few administrators think that teachers should be able to handle EVERYTHING that the district is throwing at them and that we should buy in or "find another job." By everything I mean the following: implementing the new Common Core standards (which should be first and foremost), differentiate (for gifted, standard, and struggling students) all subjects and activities every day, form flexible grouping work for all subjects and classes, meet the social/emotional needs of students, view data on each student to set individual goals for each student (even if you have 90-180 students at the middle school), prepare students for testing, choose multi-leveled texts for students for every area of the curriculum (even if you have 90-180 at the middle school level), incorporate technology into our lesson plans (even if it's not available in all buildings), and increase rigor and develop relationships that are so important with our students. I was taught that humans have developmental stages and that you can't force an individual through these stages unless he/she is ready. So, are our students who aren't ready developmentally somehow behind? I think that would be like expecting all of our students to be ready to complete in the Olympics. We understand that some students can achieve this and we foster that, but we don't expect everyone to achieve this. That would be an unrealistic goal and humiliating to some students.
Please, bloggers, look into the CHMS Donoroo debacle. What started out as a wonderful charitable event (the first three years) ended up a slush fund for the CHMS music department and was condoned by the principal. This fund was mismanaged and misused. I hope parents will demand an explanation into what happened and learn the truth about what has happened over the past three years.
I would personally like to thank all the informed, supportive parents who have realized that "the Emperor has no clothes!" Teachers know that it is only the parents that can stop the madness in District 181. The teachers fear retribution, poor performance evaluations, and a possible loss of employment for speaking up.
An anonymous concerned teacher
Thank you for coming forward with your concerns. We too are disheartened by what is going on in D181. We urge you to reach out to your colleagues and together, contact the Board of Education -- either through your union representatives or with a letter. We understand the retribution concerns listed in your last paragraph and so, if you feel it necessary, you should send your letter to the Board anonymously. Hopefully someone on the board will listen and not simply discount your concerns.
We also agree that "only the parents can stop the madness," so we ask parents to carefully consider this teacher's concerns, carefully consider those raised by the brave parent at the last Board meeting, and then contact the Board of Education and ask its members to please address all of these concerns at the next meeting. It is time the Board Members realize that they need to ask some tough questions and get answers, not spin, from the administration.
Bravo to the teacher for speaking out! And now we the parents need to do the same. Does anyone know what the special board meeting on Thursday was about? Could it have been about this debacle?
We did not realize there had been a "special meeting." Not too transparent of the Board to not send out a notification to the community. Looks like it was for an Executive Session -- in other words -- closed to the public. If we are correct, this means they still had to begin in open session, adjourn to closed and then they couldn't have made any decision unless they went back out into open session for a vote. Also, we don't think curriculum issues or fundraising issues can be discussed in a closed session. If any of our readers attended the meeting, can you weigh in? If any Board Members are reading this blog, can you please tell us what the meeting was about?
As a CHMS Parent who has donated to Donoroo, I am APPALLED to hear that my money, along with that of all of the other people who thought they were donating to charity, might actually have been given to the CHMS music Department? And what a shame for all of the talented kids who worked so hard to raise funds for those charities.
For those of you who don't know the history of Donoroo, check out this link: http://posttrib.suntimes.com/search/20319771-418/donoroo-talent-show-at-clarendon-hills-middle-school-raises-6000-for-charities.html
Whomever had oversight of those funds should be ashamed of themselves if the allegations raised by this teacher are correct. And why haven't parent and been informed that Nurse Donohue has decided to discontinue the event?
What is going on with this District? Is there no one accountable anymore?
Maybe someone should ask the board president, Marty Turek.
First, thank you teachers for working so hard and doing everything you can for our children! Thank you Brave, Anonymous Teacher for coming forward and voicing your concerns. Please reach out to your Union Rep. I KNOW there are more teachers feeling the same way that you do. Parents, PLEASE speak up! Ben Franklin said "We can hang together or hang separately" so let's come together and fix this now!!!!
Marty Turek is a lap dog for his favorite employee, Renee Schuster, who in his eyes can do no wrong. Hasn't he thanked her in public meetings "with graditude"? Thanked her - for what? For creating the kind of district this teacher speaks of? Nonsense. He has yet to hold Schuster accountable, and accountability begins at the top. If there is mismanagement of funds in a school, if students and teachers are miserable, if test scores across the district are trending lower (as they are and have been for 3 years), there is one person who should be held accountable. Any other district school board president would have done so already.
I, too, am grateful to the caring, conscientious teacher who wrote in. Without your letter, parents would never know the truth because the administration is too concerned with trying to cover up their failed plans. Parents and teachers can work together and create a positive school culture of mutual support. It isn't too late to correct the problems and start moving in the right direction again. For your honesty, thank you, thank you, thank you.
I'm reposting on this post a comment regarding the Donoroo situation that I just submitted to the "stop the experiment" post."
I didn't receive anything from the CHMS principal or anyone else telling me that future Donoroo fundraiser for charity would be cancelled. Why were CHMS staff told and not parents? What "irregularities" existed? Where did the money go?
Marty Turek has propounded an extreme left wing agenda for the entire district.
Doesn't Mr. Turek realize that the community is at odds with him? How clueless can be? How many teachers has he talked to? How many parents has he communicated with? Show us your emails, Marty. If he wants to destroy his own children's education, fine, but we will NOT allow him to ruin OUR children's. He either needs to do what is right for ALL children and teachers, or step down. When Schuster goes to Arizona soon, Marty will be left with a lot of very unhappy neighbors.
We hope that the "Donoroo Debacle" has been brought to the attention of the Board of Education. First and foremost the public must be told exactly what happened to the money that was donated with the expectation that it would be turned over to a group of charities. An investigation is definitely in order. If any improprieties took place, there need to be consequences. If any attempt was made to cover up any improprieties, the Board of Education needs to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Re: Anonymous Teacher
Anonymous does not equal brave. Anyone can make comments (true or not) but if one is not willing to identify herself/himself the veracity of the comments should be questioned. If what the "teacher hero" has to say is true it should be discussed in the open. The teachers in D181 have students performing at the top tier in Illinois. A teacher with personal issues or an axe to grind should be willing to do it openly so a true analysis of issues is possible.
Certainly everything should be taken with a grain of salt. But let's look at some of the claims the anonymous teacher made.
Large increase in administrators, many with little experience-YES (some terrific pay raises also)
Promoting their vision (Learning for All)-YES
Children working more on their own=Less instruction from teacher -YES (you will need to ask your own children-mine don't want to read at home because they are reading 40 minutes at school during class time)
First priority-Implement Common Core -YES
(another unproven plan)
Have you seen the flyers in your child's backpack noting all the seminars discussing Common Core? Have you read the the pieces in The Hinsdalean and that other paper?
We would love the administation to engage in a true analysis of the issues. They have been asked to show data and please explain how this is better than what we "HAD". No answers. By they way, test scores have been declining for the past three years and the Common Core push should certainly help that along nicely.
Unfortunately, if the administration does not even answer questions from parents or board members, do you think they would respect one of their paid employees? I don't think so. It is extremely unfortunate, because without input from teachers and parents. the admintration has no way to find out if their plans are effective or not.
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