Toward the end of the February 24, 2014 Board Meeting, school board president, Marty Turek, made the following statement after Kevin Russell, Co-Assistant Superintendent of Learning, shared the winter MAP results: "There are 4,000 kids in here. You can surmise there are over 4,000 parents, so it seems to me 40 showed up. It seems to me that a lot of people were pretty happy with it if they did not feel a need to come to get this explained. I think it is a testament that many people think you are delivering a great product, not perfect, but the majority are happy with the services you are giving." (Time stamp 3:34:00 of podcast)
We bloggers believe this an important statement for our readers and parents in the district to understand. The board, or at least the board president, is looking at the number of parents who are showing up to board meetings as a reflection of parents' satisfaction with the services that are being provided to our students. We cannot blame any of the board members for taking this position, because they can only act on what they are told either by the district administration or the district parents. We have more than 134,000 hits on this blog as of this posting. We believe there is more dissatisfaction in the parent community than what the board is hearing, but that does not mean anything if the only voices the board hears are the same handful of parents who do consistently speak up at board meetings. The board cannot react to anonymous postings on this blog. They must operate from the information that is shared with them directly.
So, is Marty Turek correct? Are there only 40 parents who are concerned about the direction the district is taking? Are there only 40 parents who are not happy with the average to negative growth on the MAP test results their children are getting? Are there only 40 parents who are unhappy with the math program and the need for over 100 4th graders to receive tutoring on 4th-grade math skills? Are there only 40 parents who are not satisfied with what their children are learning with the new reading and writing curriculums? Are there only 40 parents who are not satisfied with having to provide tutoring at their own expense instead of student needs being met in the classroom? Are there only 40 parents who are unhappy about the heterogeneous one-size-fits-all differentiated driven classrooms instead of targeted instructional services? We could continue, but we’re sure you get where we are going with this line of questioning.
We have tried to provide a forum on this blog for dialog among parents and to get out the facts about what we see as issues in this district that we believe are having a negative effect on our children and the overall success of our district. Mr. Turek has shared his truth with the public and has now stated what we believe is truly the board's position. If very few parents are attending or speaking out during board meetings, then there is nothing the board can do but assume the majority of parents are happy with the services their children are receiving.
We informed our readers on our February 24 posting that they should not miss that evening’s board meeting because some important information was being shared: Dr. Moon's comments to the board and the MAP test winter results. We know many of you are listening to the podcast or the live streaming audio of the meetings, but this is not making a difference. Either parents need to email or attend the board meetings and express their concerns so the board can include your voices in the future decisions they make, or they have no other choice but to follow the direction given to them by the administration. We are at an important junction in this district, because with the hiring of a new superintendent, the board could give different directions for the district or they can continue on this same path. We believe it is of the utmost importance that the board has the real story from the teachers and the parents and that they hear from them in enough numbers that there is no doubt about the direction we need to take.
We know many parents believe they have spoken up and written letters and nothing has changed, and we share that frustration, but now is the time to either step up to the plate and be heard and let the board know what you expect for your children, or we will have no excuses for not accepting things as they now are. We cannot expect the board to act without hearing many voices expressing concerns. If your child is bored; if your child is frustrated with the accelerated pace of instruction; if you are providing tutoring for your child to keep up; if you are a teacher and are frustrated with what is expected of you, then all of these voices need to speak up now while there is still a chance to make changes. If you cannot attend a board meeting, then we encourage you to write to the board. The only way change will occur is for the board to believe parents are not happy with the services their children are receiving, because right now they believe you are all happy (with the exception of the 40 who showed up to the last board meeting).
We do not believe we have had over 134,000 hits to this blog because only 40 people are unhappy, but we cannot make changes on our own. The only way change will occur is for all of us to be directly involved at the board level. Only six BOE meetings remain before the end of the school year. They need to hear from you; otherwise, from the lack of presence at the board meetings, we are telling them we are happy. Are you happy? If not, then you must speak up for your child, for our district, and for our property values. There is no other way change will take place.
We welcome any comments, positive or negative, regarding the status and direction of D181.