Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quick Recap of Last Night's Board Meeting -- Donoroo and Other Important Issues Minimized and Discounted By the Board of Education

Thanks to Anonymous for sending in the following comment quickly summarizing what went down during last night's Board Meeting.  We are working on a more detailed post, complete with "quotes" of the outrageous statements made by Board President Turek, Board Member Nelson (Yes, he actually attended!) and Dr. Schuster during the meeting, and will try to have the post up by tonight or tomorrow.  But for now, here's a quick recap, courtesy of "anonymous," that we know is accurate because we too were listening to the joke of a meeting.

Anonymous said...

The board meeting last night was a joke.

1. Schuster assured the board that all charities had been paid and it was an honest mistake. A board member is going to review all the checks. There was no mention of why Schuster failed to inform the public of this situation and it had to become public via the school nurse. End of story.

2. The board president is upset that FOIA requests are costing the district money and wants Lisa Madigan to reform the process. Schuster is to blame for this - we need more disclosure not less.

3. Several board members tried to bring up the learning for all mess but were shot down. Others want more time for data to come in - i.e., more lost time for our kids. Schuster wants more parent education. We are know what Learning for All is - that isn't the problem - the problem is that it is learning for none.

4. The math renewal process was approved - which means spending more money and lost teacher time in the classroom on a failed program. It also looks like an underhanded way around the failed math pilot in the spring. I thought the parents spoke loud and clear on this subject. Also, Schuster thinks teachers cannot meet after school because they are not fresh. In the real world adults have meeting after 3 pm


Christine Ryan said...

It is my first time on this blog. I find it interesting that there are so many "anonymous" comments. I do not allow my children on websites where people do not have to own up to their comments. After reading through much of this blog, I am reminded of why I have this rule in place for my family.
Christine Ryan

Jill Quinones said...

In the School District where I teach we have mandatory teacher inservice/meetings/training EVERY Wed. after school for 2 hours. Although some of the Agenda items are not always the most meaningful, we usually get a lot of valuable work done and no one complains of being too tired or not "fresh." In fact, most teachers (including those I know in D181) are working either in their classrooms or at home well past when the end-of-the-day bell rings and are "fresh" enough to do so.
Of course, being asked to be trained during this time on a regular basis would cut into that preparation time, but if it is not on a regular basis it is not really a big deal.

Perhaps if the District Administrators could plan ahead a little more of the out of class training/meetings could be done over the summer? Also, I thought were were going to more of a coaching model where the trainers were coming in to the classes to work with the teachers rather than pulling them out.

If the teachers are really struggling with the amount of training they need because of the number of new initiatives being implemented all at the same time, perhaps the District could prioritize and pull back on the non-essential?

And perhaps our teacher would be more "fresh" if they didn't have to meet the individual needs of 22+ students heterogeneously grouped in their classroom all day every day for every subject with minimal support from non-classroom teacher staff.

I was particularly impressed when my 5th grader told me the newly hired Differentiation Specialist (who has amazing credentials in the area of Gifted Education) has been in her classroom twice when the teacher was out of the room testing kids and this Diff. Spec. used this time to teach the kids Sign Language - which had nothing to do with what they were doing during their class. Great use of a resource!

Anonymous said...

A CHMS Parent said:

I would encourage Ms Ryan to consider the reasons for so many anonymous posts and comments on this blog; 1. We have a corrupt and morally inept majority on the Board of Education who have turned a blind eye to the plight of parents and children throughout the district. 2. We have a Superintendent who has used fear, threats, and intimidation against parents and teachers. 3. School Board President Marty Turek is so completely blinded by Schuster's lies and deception that he can hardly see the light of day. After Monday's meeting, he can now attest to being part of a cover-up of fraudulent activity involving misuse of charitable funds at my school.
It is for these reasons, and many more, that most people refuse to come forward. But, if you read carefully, you will find the facts throughout this blog speak for themselves. As a parent suffering through yet another disappointing school year, I would rather have facts posted by anonymous sources rather than statements with the names and titles of pseudo board members and administrators who misrepresent themselves, lie, and enact policies that prove harmful to our children. So, when my middle schooler comes home day after day and claims he is "bored" for lack of challenge, I gladly explain why a blog like this is an important tool in today's information society, especially when local newspapers print one-sided stories albeit with a "reporter's" name attached.
Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Isn't confession anonymous? People don't get turned away. People who disagree with the system are discounted either way. It's not okay to test new programs on children just like child labor is not legal. How can the board openly say they don't want feedback from the community when they were elected by the residents and not just the people they agree with? A lot has happened since last October and it's not all futuristic. They should want to know how we feel about what's happening now versus waiting until they see data at the end of the year. How can they just look out for the administration and assume the teachers support all of these changes? Even if the data isn't good, they will continue with whatever admin says. There is always some excuse. Yes we will be ignored and labeled naysayers. We are all labeled even though they act like they are against labels. Change is good as long as it's not meant to frustrate. Is there a guarantee that my children will get into a better college with this new program. So grades don't matter for the really good colleges. Do the colleges honor this new system of admitting any learner since all learners will rise to the challenge? Will all students be allowed to be on varsity teams since that does seem to make a difference on which college you get into? Will companies stop interviewing candidates since past performance is not an indicator of future performance? Someone needs to do a reality check. You can close your ears and pretend you can't hear anything only for so long. I do make my children use pseudo names for internet games to protect their identity and keep them safe! So do millions of other parents and individuals on game and internet websites and blogs.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the "anonymous" statement above. How can a school district, which supposedly promotes critical thinking skills and the democratic process, object when get valid questions and concerns are raised? Rep. Patty Bellock and Lisa Madigan should be notified, but only to see how arrogant and brazen some board members have become. If D181 truly supported SELAS, and valued and respected their community members, there would not be a need for an anonymous parent blog.

Jeffrey Jay Mayer said...

This is to Christine Ryan. I do appreciate your concern and wish other people would be public. I don't run this blog and have actually publicly posted on Dr. Schuster's blog. You should note that I am the only person in the entire district who has posted anything on her blog. I am happy to be accountable for everything I say.
However,in my view, the board does try to take revenge on critics and so people are afraid. The board's treatment of my family recently proves that.

Aside from posting legitimate questions on Dr. Schuster's blog, I served a simple FOIA request on the district, my wife served other ones, and as a result the leader of the school board Marty Turek engaged in political grandstanding and Mike Nelson actually called the request for public information "bullying". So, in response for lawfully requesting public information, elected officials called me a bully and complained publicly.

I don't care, I am not intimidated by these guys. But, I can certainly see why other people would not want these officials to know them by name.

If you are interested, you can read the Doings article describing the Nelson/Turek conduct this week. It is on line.


My response to the article, which is posted as a comment, is also available. As I noted in my comment, I am embarassed for them but also for the District and the state of Illinois. To be the first public officials in recent memory in Illinois to want less oversight to Illinois government--that is a first that I would not want attached to my name.

Jeff Mayer

Jeff Mayer

The Parents said...

We would once again like to weigh in on the issue of the legitimacy of information and opinions provided anonymously. Take a look at the surveys that D181 has asked parents to participate in, both last year and this week. Listen to the board meeting tape of Monday's meeting. Not only have all of these surveys been conducted anonymously, but Dr. Schuster personally pointed out during Monday's meeting how important it is to maintain the anonymity of the author in order to ensure that responders (in her statement on Monday the responders she was referring to were teachers) "feel secure." Further, Bridgett McGuiggan,the director of communication actually said that even with regards to the parent survey, questions were crafted in order that "it would not be so easy to figure out who it was." (Did she really say that? Are we to conclude that someone in administration would actually try and do this?)

The district can't have it both ways, and only consider anonymous information when it answers questions they have crafted. If anonymity is good enough when answering the administration's questions, it should make no difference in what forum opinions are expressed. Especially when the surveys put out by the District go out of their way to avoid asking parents what they think about existing programs.

Notice how there are no "satisfaction" questions dealing with the ALP plan or Math Acceleration Model on the current survey (another issue debated during Monday's board meeting). Board Members Garg, Heneghan and Vorobiev all asked for the survey to be supplemented with satisfaction questions regarding ALP and Math, prior to being opened to the public. While perhaps not a "majority" of the board, seems like enough interest by our elected officials to warrant adding a few more questions to the survey. Dr. Schuster did not. The other board members said it wasn't necessary to ask satisfaction questions until next Spring. Guess the administration really doesn't want to hear what we have to say -- either through their own anonymous surveys, our blog or when brave parents step up using their own names and report of their own child's negative experiences. It's no wonder people don't want to come forward -- either way. They know it will be a fruitless exercise.