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.