Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Spin Cycle: A Postscript

We would like to make a few additional observations regarding the 11/4/13 Board Meeting:

Board Meeting Summary: The Administration’s summary of this meeting, briefly referenced by Ms. McGuiggan in last Friday’s “Newsletter,” bears no resemblance to the meeting we listened to.  It was more spin and more attempt to deflect away from the legitimate concerns raised by community members and minority board members alike.  (Also, notice how we used to receive Board Meeting Summaries on a weekly basis, rather than have a link to them buried within a much longer document.)

Administration States Learning for All will take 5-7 years to Implement:  During the discussion of the Learning for All Plan, the time frame for completion, 5-7 years was embedded within the presentation slides. Parents who made public comment referenced this in their remarks. How could this excessive span of time for implementation possibly be acceptable to the BOE?  Many children who are currently affected by this plan will be well into high school before the effectiveness of the changes can truly be measured. Is this acceptable? Is this fair to our children? Obviously, the answers are "no." Maybe Dr. Schuster and her administration are attempting to buy themselves some time with rolling out their plan and facing, what now seems to be, questionable results.

Dr. Schuster’s Blog: One complaint that we have raised is that the Administration doesn’t answer questions.  Now, apparently, neither will Dr. Schuster.  The Superintendent’s Report explained that Dr. Schuster’s Blog is being cancelled, “due to the time required to maintain this type of communication.”  What?  Only ONE, let us repeat ONE, community member EVER commented on her blog and she only posted two, that’s right, two posts (one being her “Welcome” post) in the couple of months her blog was up and running.  Doesn’t seem like much time was expended!  And of course, during the meeting when she usually reviews everything in her Report, she omitted any mention of this, as did Ms. McGuiggan in her “summary.”

Lunch and Learn:  Until Monday’s meeting, there had been no report on the success of Dr. Schuster’s first Lunch and Learn Session held in September.  Now we know why.  After Dr. Schuster told the Board about the upcoming second Lunch and Learn, one board member asked her how the first one had gone.  Her answer?  Cancelled due to a “stomach flu” that had gone around preventing people from attending.  Really?  Anyone out there who cancelled due to the stomach flu, please send us a comment.

There is always an excuse:  Board members and community members alike complained about the last minute additions to Board Docs that prevented them from reviewing materials prior to the board meeting.  Isn’t there a Thursday deadline (prior to the Monday meetings) for the administration posting Board Docs for the board members’ review?  Haven't parents and community members been told that in the interest of transparency, Board Docs are made available for everyone to see 48 hours before a board meeting? The Administration's excuse was that the Learning Department was gathering information right up until Monday on some issues – ISAT rankings, for example.  Well, our suggestion is that when they can't meet their deadline, they should table the discussion until the next meeting.  The Administration should give our elected officials time to read, process and thoughtfully consider all of the materials.  How hard would that be?


Anonymous said...

Our community and the BOE majority should not accept what the administation is putting out there. The 5 to 7 year time frame is an absolute joke! Actually ,I'm glad because the changes being implemented are not helping our children, but we do need changes.

We need changes to curriculum which will increase learning (and scores) NOW!

Last year was such a pathetic year in terms of amount of writing, quality of homework assignments coming home. I saw empty writing journals and unused workbooks. Unbelievable.

Also-Dr. Scheider should be telling us exactly what is being done now (curriculum etc) to help those struggling students with IEP's ( not so much the Asian minority-they are doing wonderfully) . This is his job. His comments regarding our Asian minority group make no sense whatsoever. They knew all along the ISAT scoring was being adjusted-they should have adjusted the rigor of the curriculum-instead we get excuses, excuses. Many other school administrators are figuring it out, and implementing changes that matter.

D181 parents are not unreasonable. We just want our questions answered directly instead of spin.

Anonymous said...

Doctor:  "I can see you about that lump in 5-7 years."

Jury:  "Sorry Judge, we won't have the verdict for 5-7 years."

Ad Agency:  "We will get you the numbers on this campaign in 5-7 years."

Utilities Company:  "Yes Sir, we will have your electricity back on in 5-7 years."

Teacher:  "I will have your child's report card to you in 5-7 years."

Lab Tech:  "I can get those results to you in 5-7 years."

Taxpayer:  "We will have the check to you in 5-7 years."

Plumber:  "I can be there to fix your clog in 5-7 years."

Seriously! They are saying 5-7 YEARS!  

Anonymous said...

The educational system is at a crossroads with the teachers being pointed in 20 different directions. Not sure how this can all be done without a general meltdown ultimately affecting our children. Where is the accountability for the "experts" writing the standards, assessments, curriculum and making decisions for school districts? I agree with the comment that the district should have been further along with updates to the curriculum since all districts have been studying the standards for two years now. Why was Dr. Stutz allowed to continue for so long if our general ed program was so stagnant and there was such inconsistency among the schools?
"The chief author of the Common Core, education consultant David Coleman, is now president of the College Board. His new job entails rewriting the SAT."

Anonymous said...

Five to seven years is the perfect period of time to project into the future for Schuneiderussel. Any longer, and the planning process would degenerate into complete farce. 5-7 years allows them to keep a straight face knowing that only a fraction of parents present will actually have a stake in whether year 6 matches the promises. Combine that with task force, planning committee, FOIA denials, and lack of transparency and other delay tactics and it is highly unlikely that anyone will bother to monitor Schuneiderrusell for the 5-7 years and so the tactics will win. The only way they can't win is if the Board actually holds them accountable.

By the way, from Pearl Harbor to German and Japanese surrender was less than 5-7 years, Willis Tower was built in less than 5-7 years, and Obamacare was passed and implemented...oh never mind that example.

Ari Zoner