Thursday, February 13, 2014

New Guidelines for Comments

In light of the tone and hostile content of recent comments (some which we have chosen to reject), we have changed the guidelines for posting comments.  The new guidelines state:

We welcome your comments.  While we will accept anonymous comments, we would appreciate if you would identify yourself as an elementary or middle school parent, teacher or community member. 

We reserve the right to not publish comments. The purpose of this blog is to support the education of D181 students and present facts, data and opinions related to D181 issues.  We ask commentators to avoid name calling or unfounded and sweeping allegations. No profanity will be allowed. We will reject comments that do not address specific D181 issues that have been addressed in posts or that you would like us to write about.  Under Common Core these days our children must support their arguments with what is written in the text.  Opposing opinions are ok - ad hominem attacks are not.  


Anonymous said...

I agree that it's time for all involved to get back to the most important issue at hand, that of the education of D181 students. Continuing to discuss Dr. Schuster and real estate values is, at this point, wasted energy and a distraction. What's done is done, let's learn from it and move on. We have huge issues ahead of us in this district. A new teacher contract, HMS issues, significant curriculum concerns, etc... The truth is that most parents in this district took their hands "off the wheel" and trusted the BOE and administration to do their jobs and continue the success that this district has always achieved. They spend more time on issues such as on which baseball team their son will play, who is asking their daughter to play and what to wear to their social events than what their children are doing in the classroom and whether or not that is sufficient. They don't make the time (and, to be fair, the younger parents don't know that they should) to attend and/or listen to BOE meetings, to ask questions or to really look at the work their children bring home every day and think about it critically. They outsource their children's education to tutors and pat themselves on the back for a job well done while being completely oblivious to what caused their child to need the tutor. Curriculum is important and parents need to inform themselves about it by attending meetings, talking to teachers, principals and other parents. Then they need to think about the answers and not just accept the status quo. If they don't, they may be surprised at where their children stand when middle school and high school roll around. The goal is for our children to be so prepared in the classroom that they don't need tutors, they get what they need at school, no matter what their level. No small task to be sure, but most of our teachers are up to it. According to every study ever done (and what every teacher will tell you), by far the most helpful thing in improving test scores and increasing student learning isn't a cutting edge curriculum, it's small class sizes where each student receives a lot of attention. Whether that size is achieved by small classes all around or by the use of differentiation specialists, math coaches, and the like, who effectively reduce the size, doesn't matter. Instead of all of these blog posts, we should each make the time to write our administration and BOE and ask them to focus their time and money on finding a way to reduce class sizes. Its no coincidence that the Oak Brook feeder schools consistently outperform D181 kids at Central - they cap their schools at 16 students per class. Imagine what our teachers could do for our kids with that kind of student/teacher ratio.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous poster advocating reduced class sizes:

I agree that much of the discussion about real estate is a distraction from what ought to be the real focus of the how to address the problems with the BOE and district direct.

Unfortunately when I have advocated for efforts to keep class sizes as small / smaller than neighboring districts like Butler 53 even the most friendly district staff have been unable to produce sufficient research that supports such ratios. To be sure, classrooms that are overcrowded and lack sufficient support staff do show decreased student achievement, but in the main such classrooms are found in impoverished / inner ciity areas. Many people rightly believe such conditions are not illustrative of the environment our children or teachers face. Coupled with the fury with which some anti-tax types oppose any increase in expenditures it is unlikely that there would be sufficient community-wide support for such reductions in classsize. That said I do urge folks to continue looking for research that might convince a sufficient portion of the BOE to at least maintain classsizes no larger than what the district currently has.

I am not sure that I would say that the only factor impacting the success of Oak Brook children at HC is class size; numerous studies have shown an inviolable correlation between things like parental income, immigrant patterns of success and even multi-lingual facileness, all of which are areas that Oak Brook are well known for.

I also commend you for reminding parents, especially those that may be new to the district, of the importance of staying on top of the often confusioning information about how our schools are run. I think it is especially important that sufficient numbers of parents get involved in the process of finding attentive, respectfull, and dedcated people to serve on the BOE as early as possible. When folks do engage in the process early enough we have situations like that of our current BOE...

Just Trying to Help

Anonymous said...

I agree that class size alone does not account for District 53's success but I do believe that it is significant and that many, if not all, parents of students there would agree. A quick Google search produced the following links: and

I thought the last article was particularly interesting in that it acknowledged the politically hypocritical aspect of education and discussed how this impacts studies, results, etc... I agree that an apples to apples comparison is necessary. I would love our BOE and administrative staff to undergo this sort of analysis and discussion. Although anti-tax types may be hesitant to approve such measures, we are currently spending on 4th grade tutors as a district and many parents are doing the same privately. There are also significant expenditures on students with IEP's, RTI's and the like that may be able to be reduced by the implementation of smaller class sizes. Not to mention a significant amount on consultants. I believe that curriculum and learning in this district has been overcomplicated and that perhaps we need to focus on the basics to get back on track.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous / class size reduction advocate:

I tend to agree that in many cases "simpler is better" but I've been around education long enough to know that there are too many legal requirements, financially incentivized employees / consultants, and endless "arm chair quarterbacks" to ever really "pare down" the overall enterprise.

Honestly even the most reasonable folks that come to this blog are so steeped in the terminology of "educationalese" that results in things like demands for "data backed peer reviewed best practice" surrounding any change lest some kind of "educational malpractice" is again ushered in -- such thinking is really too firmly rooted in the minds of everyone to really overcome the damage that comes from leaving everything up to somebody else...

And the nearly undeniable fact is that with a BOE whose majority is unable / unwilling to even do the most minimally necessary of their duties it is beyond thinking that they could guide the district forward in a way that was against the vested interests of folks that have earned doctorates in the hopes of moving upward in the educational pantheon...

Toss in the handful of vocal (and probably well meaning...) parents that are such slaves to "expert authority" that they switch everything from diet to sleeping position only with consulatations with the Mayo Clinic and there is no real chance that "simpler" is a real possiblity here.

Just Trying to Help

The Parents said...

We will no longer publish comments by people whose sole intent is to "bash" or express hostility towards writers of this blog or people who submit comments on this blog -- whether or not they are anonymous. We will no longer publish comments whose sole purpose is to discuss the issue of anonymity. We will publish comments that address issues we raise on the blog, express opinions -- pro or against -- what we have raised for discussion on the blog and that suggest topics you would like us to address on the blog. If anyone submits a comment attacking this decision, we will not publish it. Stick to the D181 issues that impact our kids please. There are plenty of them out there.