Thursday, October 17, 2013

Petition Seeking Smaller Class Size Guidelines and Fair and Equitable Allocation of Reading and Differentiation Specialists

Readers:  D181 community member Leslie Grey has submitted a comment requesting that we publish the following information regarding a Petition that is currently circulating.  We thank Ms. Grey for publicly advocating for change in D181 that will make the district a better place for all of our students.  If you agree with the proposals set forth in the Petition, please consider signing it.  Ms. Grey's comment states:

"The Petition urges the D181 Board of Education and Administration to take the following actions prior to the start of the 2014-2015 academic school year:

1. Change our current class size guidelines to adhere the recommendations of the 2009 Class Size task force (as outlined in the petition); and 

2. Allocate reading specialists and differentiation specialists to our D181 schools based on the student population of the school. The petition states that we, the D181 community, feel that it is unjust that each school currently is allocated one differentiation specialist and one reading specialist even though the student populations of our schools vary widely.

I have outlined in the petition the reasons why I think these additional supports are needed. If your readers support class size reductions, they can click on the below link and sign the petition. They can simply write their name in the correct field, and in the comment section indicate the school their children attend and what grades their children are in (or, if the reader is a teacher, indicate the school where he or she teaches). Also, your readers should feel free to add a comment of their own. The link to the petition is:

Please ask your readers to forward this link to other D181 parents and teachers and encourage them to sign the petition. My goal is to present this petition to the Board of Education at a November board meeting where projected enrollment for next year is slated as an agenda item.

Thank you for your support!


Leslie Gray"


The Parents said...

We are happy to spread the word about this petition. We would appreciate it if the Petition authors would send out an email to those signing the Petition alerting them to this Blog. The more information and opinions we can circulate amongst the D181 Parent Community about what is currently going on and what changes will improve the district for all students, the better. Thank you.

Leslie Gray said...

Thank you bloggers for your support and for the great job you do with the blog. I just emailed my petition signers a link to this blog and encouraged them to check it out. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

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.

(Part 1 of 2)

Anonymous said...

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

The Parents said...

To the Concerned Anonymous 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.