Friday, April 25, 2014

The Highs and Lows of the 4/21/14 Roller Coaster Meeting: "The Shocking Fix," Shining Example of How Work Should be Done in D181 and More "Kicking the Can" Down the Road

After five days of reflection on Monday's board meeting, we can best describe it as a roller coaster with a few highs and many lows.  The meeting began at 7:20 p.m. and lasted more than three hours.  Here is the summary that left us begging to get off the ride.

"The Shocking Fix"

The roller coaster started off at the top of a very steep hill.  Everyone in the audience, and those listening in, eagerly waited to hear if the board would start an uphill climb re-establishing itself as a group that expects the very best conduct from its leader, or if it would go downhill and condone and affirm the poor leadership of last year's board president. Sadly, all seven board members took the downhill slope.

As predicted, the board officer elections proved once again that the "fix was in."  Marty Turek, Jill Vorobiev and Mridu Garg were all reelected to their positions as president, vice president and secretary, without any other board members being nominated.  They were elected by "acclimation" which means that because they were uncontested, a vote was not even taken by the board. Individual board members were not given the opportunity to publicly vote Yes or No.  Instead, Turek's nominations was simply "affirmed" by Mike Nelson (acting for a brief moment in the meeting as president pro-tem), followed by an affirmation of Garg's and Vorobiev's reelection by Turek, who immediately re-assumed his seat as president.

The vote for Turek, therefore, could be considered unanimous.  That's right folks.  Even the board members that we have come to respect, knowing that they will not support actions that are not in the best interest of our children, and will make decisions that are supported by data, let us down.  By re-electing Turek, the seven board members basically told all parents and staff that they approve of Turek's one year reign as a hypocritical bully, leader who has proven over and over again that he will not share all information he receives from the administration with the full board, a leader who has admitted he doesn't necessarily even read board docs materials until he is at his paying job on the same day as a board meeting, and a public official who has called for Freedom of Information Act reform to limit the access of public records by the community.  What were they thinking?   We can only say that we are beyond disappointed in all seven board members.

More $ To be Thrown at Data Analysis?

The ride continued on its downhill run as Dawn Benaitis, the Assessment Director, took center stage along with a representative from ECRA -- Educational Consulting Reseaerch Analytics -- a company that D181 is considering purchasing a "student growth model" from. (Click to open Board report on ECRA.)  In a nutshell, ECRA will provide online products and services that will enable D181 to track and monitor individual student performance, create a data dashboard and assist in the analysis of the data through the production of reports called "growth scatters."  (Click to open ECRA power point presentation.)  The board was not asked to approve purchase of the growth model -- that will happen at the 4/28 board meeting -- but learned that it will cost approximately $50,000 per year.

Ms. Benaitis explained that the district has spent the last year "cleaning up our data"as they worked with Hinsdale Central High School and other feeder districts to identify a student growth model that could be used as a data cooperative by all of the schools to track student performance data.  She admitted that this model will replace another model called PD360.  In public comment at the end of the meeting, we learned from a community member that other student data monitoring programs, such as "Just 5 Clicks" were purchased by D181 in the recent past, but that none of these programs have been successfully implemented.  It would be interesting to learn how much money has been spent on these past, failed programs.

In our opinion, until the current Department of Learning administrators, especially those tasked with analyzing our student assessment data, actually learn how to do their jobs and prove that they are qualified to receive their exorbitant salaries, no additional money should be expended on yet another "student growth model."  Dr. Russell has presented student assessment data to the board in the last year, despite the fact that Ms. Benaitis was hired -- purportedly -- to be the Director of Assessment (her title morphed into Director of Learning, but everyone knows that the position was created for then "Mr. Russell" before he was promoted to be the Co-Assistant Superintendent of the Department of Learning and was touted as an assessment position.)  Now that Dr. Russell is leaving, Ms. Benaitis has suddenly started presenting at board meetings.  Everyone should listen carefully to the podcast of her presentation on Monday night and the answers she gave to board member questions.  You will hear that she couldn't even keep track of a two part question, and, in our opinion, her answers were weak, at best.  Before any more D181 tax dollars are spent on a "tool" for Benaitis to use, the administration should consider if perhaps money should be spent to hire a qualified, experienced data assessment administrator.  After all, there is no point in throwing good money after bad.

HMS Roof Replacement Put on Hold

As the roller coaster cart hit the bottom of a very steep hill, we were pleasantly surprised as the ride continued uphill with a presentation from the Facilities Committee.  Two parent members of the committee presented the recommendation of the "majority" of the committee as to what should be done at HMS in relation to replacing the roof.  (Click to open Majority's presentation.)  We would like to commend the members of the majority of the committee who, in our opinion, presented the most professional, thorough, well reasoned and thoughtful presentation to the board that we have heard in the last few years. The majority of the committee set forth a recommendation for a Short Term solution for Long Term Planning.  Under this recommendation, a new roof will be deferred until after the community is surveyed on whether or not it will support building a new middle school. In the meantime, short term repairs and maintenance will take place at HMS on an ongoing basis to ensure the health and safety of the building, students and staff.

The minority of the committee  -- Mr. Clarin admitted he had been in the minority - supported a full roof replacement at a cost of approximately $2 million.  Following the presentation by both the majority and minority of the committee, the board discussed the course to follow. The consensus of the board was opposed to a roof replacement or any further expenditures at this time, and instead directed that the community be surveyed on its willingness to support a new school as a long term solution to all of the problems that have and will continue to exist at HMS. We were pleased that Mr. Clarin showed a willingness to compromise.  After publicly admitting that he supported a new roof, he said community feedback should first be solicited.  Mr. Turek also stressed that a board of seven should not make a decision like this without getting community input.

While we will not opine on whether or not we support the building of a new school, we do support the board's decision to get input from the community before any decisions are made on spending more tax payer $ on HMS. We find it ironic however, that when it comes to facilities issues, the board is willing to survey the community to find out what it wants and thinks, but it has been unwilling to conduct a satisfaction survey to see what parents and taxpayers think about the Learning for All Plan. It is time that a satisfaction survey on Learning for All be conducted. Cherry picking what issues are worthy of community input is not the type of behavior that will instill confidence in our elected officials or help the board to establish credibility.

Now it will be up to the board to follow through with its plans to survey the community. When will the survey window begin? When will it end?  It will be interesting to see how the survey questions are phrased. Will they provide data and projected costs of the building of a new school, or just be speculative in nature? Will they be skewed to "scare off" support for a new school or will they be phrased objectively and without an obvious bias? Who will ultimately draft the survey and how will all community members who no longer have children at D181 be reached to facilitate their participation?

Long Awaited Board Discussion on Dr. Moon's Report A Series of Ups and Downs 

The parents and staff in D181 have waited a very long time to hear the board discuss Dr. Moon's follow-up report.  She came back to the district in January 2014 (a visit that was itself delayed by over one year past the point that her contract had originally called for), gave a brief presentation to the board at the end of the first day of her two day visit, finally submitted a report to the board in March, but the board would not discuss it until after the principals and teachers met with the Administration to discuss it.

One would think that after the long delays, the board would at least schedule its discussion on her report early in the agenda, in order to allow parents who attended or were listening from home to still be present (and awake).  Instead, Dr. Moon's was dead last on the lengthy agenda and the discussion didn't begin until nearly 10 p.m. By then most of the parents in attendance had left.  In stark contrast to the very detailed public presentation given by the Facilities Committee on the options for the HMS roof, there was no public presentation by the administration, explaining either Dr. Moon's report or what the teachers and principals had discussed with the administration about Dr. Moon's report.  Dr. Schuster merely and very briefly stated that the written report on board docs set out the action steps that the administration planned to follow to address Dr. Moon's "considerations" and then opened it up for discussion and questions.  There was no actual review or "presentation"of the action steps for the board or parents and listeners who hadn't had a chance to read the board report.

Most of the board members who spoke seemed to agree that the professional development called for by Dr. Moon and planned for in the "action steps" was necessary to successfully implement the Learning for All Plan.  Probably the most provocative statement of the night was when Mr. Clarin declared that the Learning for All Plan is not going anywhere.  The implication, of course, is that the new superintendent the board is about to hire is supportive of a plan that many parents believe is hurting their children.  Back in January, when Dr. Moon returned, Member Nelson expressed concern that the program might be hurting some students and said this was a question that needed to be answered.  To date it has not been answered, as pointed out by former board member Yvonne Mayer during closing public comment.

While some of the comments published on the blog this week have praised Mr. Nelson for asking some good data questions during the 4/21 meeting, what he and the other board members need to do now is to follow up and demand answers to their questions. In response to his questions, Dr. Russell answered that there will be a presentation sometime in May.  For us, hearing this was just another example of the current administration kicking the can down the road.  The school year is almost over.  The students have taken three MAP tests this year.  The results of the computerized tests are almost immediately available for the administration to analyze.  Yet rather than provide substantive feedback in response to Mr. Nelson's questions on Monday night, the administration once again deferred to a later date.

Does anyone really believe that this isn't being done intentionally by the administrators? After all, two of the educational leaders -- Dr. Schuster and Dr. Russell -- are leaving in less than 2 months. One could argue that they since they no longer have "skin in the game" they have no reason to provide timely information to the board. It is the board's job to demand it!

Until the data is presented to the board and community that proves that the Learning for All Plan is not hurting any of our students in its current form, it is -- in our opinion -- completely inappropriate for any board member to even remotely suggest that everyone had better just accept the current state of affairs.  It is -- in our opinion -- completely inappropriate to suggest that the new educational leader that will take the helm on July 1 is not going to make any changes. How can any board member suggest this?  Doesn't the board want the new educational leader -- who will hopefully have a strong curriculum background (as desired by the community) -- to review and thoughtfully consider, with a set of fresh eyes, the state of D181's curriculum and programs?  Or is the board only looking to hire a person who will endorses the social justice experiment that continues to roll forward, with our kids as guinea pigs and lab rats?

Like we said at the beginning of this post, by the end of Monday's roller coaster meeting, all we wanted to do was get off the ride.  Unfortunately, we cannot really do that because as parents it is our responsibility to continue to advocate for what is in the best interests of our children.  We can only hope that the board starts to do the same by demanding data and accountability for the current administratiors' actions that, in our opinion, are hurting students in D181.


Anonymous said...

Parents are circulating an email from Kurt Schneider and his parent liaisons that today's meeting on the L4A non-negotiables has been cancelled due to low enrollment. I am furious! Parents should not have to register and I was planning on attending today to hear Schneider's defense of how he has destroyed my child's 4th grade education. This is an outrage! How can he cancel this meeting at the last minute? Many parents I have talked to rearranged their schedules for today.
Another example of the fine leadership we have in 181!

Anonymous said...

Please make a post about the meeting Kurt Schneider cancelled. The entire district ought to see how he operates.
What's the matter, Kurt? Getting nervous about your social justice experiment that you rammed through the district with no data to support it?

Anonymous said...

Notice how all the district emails misspell principles. A princiPAL is your PAL!

jay_wick said...

Part 1 of 2
While some might find have found the "Facility Committee Presentation" a pleasant surprise, anyone that has even reviewed proposals to have their own home re-roofed would have reason to be appalled.

The strength and durability of the existing Architectural Standing Seam metal roof is so far superior to the mentioned composite shingle that the consultants ought to be ashamed to even suggest it. The district's own facility coordinator would of course be derelict if they went along with this ridiculous suggestion.

All credible sources agree that a properly installed Architectural Standing Seam metal roof that has not been damaged should last 3x or more than composite shingles -- Standing Seam Metal Roofs -- A Green Choice

Benefits of Standing Seam Metal Roofing

Engineering Concerns in Metal Roofing

To put this in a context that might resonate with some in the community -- to lay composite shingles in place of the Architectural Standing Seam metal roof would be the equivalent of covering the red lacquer soles of Christian Louboutin footwear Repair My Louboutin® |US Christian Louboutin with the
As-Seen-On-TV Sprayed on Flex Seal! If you want to really be "embarrassed" that would be a heinous way to destroy a building.

The only "red herring" in the argument is the heretofore unmentioned allegation of "failing systems".
Let's take a minute to review what has transpired to get to this point. -- Way back in 1997 the BOE publicly announced plans to construct a second middle school to address issues with over crowding at HMS. A whole lot of legal fees were spent and whole lot of time was sunk into negotiations with Village of CH as well as the CH Park District. Three years and $17,000,000 later CHMS was in service. This allowed for the elimination of the many but not all the "portable" classrooms that previously were deployed at HMS. Clarendon Hills Middle School Cost | Chicago Tribune

jay_wick said...

Part 2 of 2
Some nine years later nearly $5,000,000 worth of extensive retrofitting of windows, insulation, lighting, energy control systems and HVAC at HMS by a controversial contract with Chevron Energy Solutions should have resulted in the building being essentially "state of the art" in regard to not just heating and cooling but also illumination, building control / remote monitoring and even the reconfiguration of entrances / exits and administrative space -- School Board Moves Forward with HMS Projects .

Had there been any other "failing systems" why were they not part of the laundry list of renovations, additions as well as the new Walker School were all the part of a referendum passed in 2004?-- Hinsdale School Upgrades Nowhere in that list was any mention of deficiencies at HMS. That was four years after CHMS was in service -- more than enough time for any news of problems to be addressed...

In the past few months the district has been presented with nearly $2,000,000 in bills to remove and replace essentially all the interior walls, install waterproof baseboards, reconfigure portions of the heating system, re-floor several classrooms and re-insulate much of the building. Combined with other work that has been undertaken to address problems in the lavatories Hinsdale Middle School | PlanSCOPE the whole school has been all but rebuilt in the past five years. Had responsible contractors / staff not foolishly altered necessary exterior features there would be no debate as to whether the building is "shot", instead there would merely be a routine review of bids for a needed a re-roof.

The prudent course of action is not to waste time with one's finger in the wind unless wants such polling to perhaps "push" an agenda that would immortalize some for their "service". The BOE should instruct its consultants to prepare bid specifications to re-roof HMS with high quality like-kind material and move forward tackling more serious problems closer to student learning.

Elementary teacher said...

There has been no discussion between teachers and administration about Dr. Moon's report.. Nothing has been shared with us other than what is on the board docs.(at least at my school) Therefore, they had nothing to share at the board meeting.

Anonymous said...

As many Monroe parents can attest, if you gave Dawn Benaitis a penny for her thoughts, you would get change.

Its astounding that she continues to have the opportunity to harm a broader group of students.

Anonymous said...

Wow! If they didn't discuss Dr. Moon's report with the teachers - like they said they would - then why did we wait 1.5 months to discuss it? In my opinion, the administration's response to the report was a bunch of words with no substance. And I still cannot get over that Clarin said that L4A is here to stay when we have seen absolutely no data to support it.

Also, is anyone else curious about why there are missing words on the bottom of page 6 of Moon's report?

The Parents said...

Elementary Teacher: Wait a minute. Didn't the administration say they were waiting to discuss Moon's report until they had met with the principals and teachers? Didn't they report that the board received a report on these meetings back on March 10? Are we mistaken? If the teachers did not meet, then how can the administration say a report was given to the board on what the teachers want?

Anonymous said...

Bloggers: I think the report from the teachers was about 4th grade math not Dr. Moon. But I may be wrong.

Anonymous said...

We did have a meeting. Maybe elementary teacher was not present or not paying attention? The admin met with third and fourth grade teachers about math, as they said they would during the board meeting in March.

Anonymous said...

But did they meet with all the teachers about Moon's report like they said they would?

jay_wick said...

Part 1 of 2
Still an awful lot of gaps!

There was allegedly a "facilities committee" meeting this past week where one can infer that there were "bid openings" based on this item -- Illinois Bid Network Hinsdale Middle School Roof Replacement unfortunately the attached "clip art slides" do not reveal any information about ACTUAL BIDS that were received. There is a suggestion that full roof replacement is about 50% higher than the laundry list of fixes being recommended -- Facility Committee PowerPoint.pdf however no details to support that assersation are in BoardDocs...

There is, however, a further suggestion that GOING DOWN THIS PATH of repair has somehow come after "Validated support for new building"?!? How in the world such a statement comes a mere two working days after the lengthy discussion of what an "embarrassment" HMS is "roof issues aside" is beyond any logic. As the post above details, only in the past Monday meeting was there any suggestion that there are other "failing systems" at HMS. Without some details about what these systems may be, the public is left to wonder if this is perhaps an deliberate attempt at rumor-mongering to sow seeds of doubt that HMS is on the verge of collapse. Certainly the very visibly slipshod "temporary down spout bypasses" seem designed to give the facility the most ram shackle appearance...
There clearly seems to be someone with a VERY different agenda reflected in that document as another pdf from BoardsBocs makes it clear that not even DISTRICT STAFF have weighed in on the "need" to abandon HMS -- BOE Report HMS Roof pdf
Committee member and HMS teacher ... will provide preliminary data from the HMS staff members who have completed the Facilities Survey that is currently active for each District 181 school. (The survey closes May 6.)

jay_wick said...

Part 2 of 2
What the heck is going on? This is the same BOE, that seemingly with ZERO data, has essentially refused to look at any aspect of "L4A", has extended contracts of staff who seem incapable of fulfilling the role to which they've been assigned, and continues to be less than forthcoming in adhering to standards set out by the Illinois Open Meetings Act -- Requirements of the Illinois Open Meetings Act . The district is long past any weather related "crisis"; significant refurbishment of HMS was successfully completed after the devastating problems with ice and burst pipes. Instead of seeking maximum participation in what could be a hugely expensive and misguided push for a new building, there are these laughable attempts to skirt the intent of the Open Meetings Act. Clearly the law requires such matters of potentially enormous financial implications need to be discussed in the open -- Even "superintendent's committees" can come under Illinois Open Meetings Act | IASB general counsel

It would be utterly derelict to refrain from moving forward with bids for necessary roof repairs to ensure both the safety of student and staff as well ensure the considerable investment in prior work done to restore HMS was not in vane, but if the BOE has any hope of credibility the time for dancing on the edge of legal cover has long past.

The BOE must lay out in some detail what sorts of projects (totaling an estimated $1.2M over the next 5 years...) have been discussed, what provisions will still be available for complete roof replacement once the foolishness of HMS abandonment is accepted by the either current or replacement BOE members (several of whom have terms expiring in less than one year) and what steps will be taken to ensure a FAR MORE RIGOROUS set of financial controls are in place for this project than the lax oversight that happened both with recent emergency work as well as past projects that have ballooned in cost...

If the BOE wants something to "take pride in" they ought to start with their own conduct and perhaps rethink what it is they hope to accomplish. Surely they've no credibility with reigning in spending despite a hard line on previous teacher's salary agreements. Penny wise and pound foolish habits will come back to bite one. Earning a reputation as indecisive buck-passing seat warmers content to shrug their way through the remainder of their terms of office is no better than immortalizing one's self as aggrandizing yes-men that flush away district resources on something that will not help the educational outcomes of students one iota.

As the remaining weeks of another school year spill through the funnel of time, what ground work has been laid for our teachers to tackle the real issues that will put them at risk watching helplessly as more children fail to meet standards?
Will children and parents suffer through more directionless nonsense as surrounding districts respond to the challenges of Common Core? Classrooms in Action |Illinois State Board of Education Professional Learning Series When will the wrong-headedness of squeezing "round peg" children of different abilities into one-size-fits all square holes stop?

Anonymous said...

Well said, jay wick. It is clear that there is a major problem going on with the adminsitration, but rather than demand that it be fixed, the BOE allows it to continue. If the BOE and more parents don't stand up to the problem, then you become a part of it.

Anonymous said...

The BOA is a big part of the problem and has been for years!

Anonymous said...

Interesting presentation from Kelly Sledz from the facilities committee. 41 pages of survey results at HMS versus 14 at CHMS? Seriously?!?

I'd like to hear what the custodians think of the facilities since they're the ones who have to keep it clean and running.

jay_wick said...

It might be interesting to hear from the custodial staff.

There were intimations from the ServPro folks that some of the damage caused at HMS was from things as basic as inappropriate attention to mopping up the floors --- moisture that "wicked its way up" behind the drywall should have been dealt with more effectively.

Funny thing too when looking inside CPS facilities the hierarchy of salaries often means the "building engineer" is second only to the most senior teachers / principal. Typically the building engineer has a state certificate and is a member of the Operating Engineers union, which is how they gained the necessary expertise in safely and efficiently providing for the primary heating and cooling of the facilities. While critics may say that points to the inappropriate priorities of the Chicago Public Schools the fact is some of their facilities constructed about the same time as HMS are still in outstanding condition. Whitney Young High School Interestingly there is currently a move to outsource the purely janitorial positions in CPS -- CPS seeking to replace Union janitorial staff

Sadly our district does not really have any full time staff with expertise in either the operations of the very costly physical infrastructure nor the technical demands of supervising repairs / renovations. They are at the mercy of expensive outside consultants, who themselves often are more versed in "new construction" than in the decidedly different skill of truly remedying problems...

If the district had a real commitment to ensuring the best stewardship of the considerable investment they have in the physical facilities perhaps they would consider having more qualified staff...

Anonymous said...

Was anyone else expecting more from the math committee last night? There are so many questions about next year that need answers and the end of the year is fast approaching.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe how little substance was presented by the Math Committee last night, and that they didn't even stick around to answer questions. Can't believe there are no parents on this committee and that no parents have been surveyed at all during ANY of the districts pilots. Remarkable. Since the advertised parent "Curriculm Committee" has been indefinitely cancelled by Dr. Schuster and friends, there is still NO community input being heard, other than by a few who have had personal meetings with Russell or Schuster. What has this Math Committee been doing? The district should be able to prove, with evidence, that what they are piloting WILL be better than our current May program, AND ask for parental approval before they force our children to be in their experiment. Look at the board policy for the approval of new materials. There must be evidence that it is an improvement over the old materials. It clearly asks this, and makes no exception for "Pilots".

Also, is this committee still looking only constructivist math books like Pearson? If our teachers have been unhappy with the constructivist approach of our current Everyday Math books, why is the math committee choosing another book with the same instructional style? ( guessing - they didn't tell us one way or the other) Why not just supplement the math books we already have with the more successful genuine math books like Singapore math? Or add computer math programs to supplement Everyday Math? Why do we have to try to spend $100,000 on new books if we could just supplement with workbooks and professional development? Dr. Moon herself said that the most important piece missing in our Learning for All plan was teacher professional development. WHEN and HOW will it happen if they don't even have it narrowed down to certain books? I do not want these books to arrive 1 week before the school year like the new literacy materials and words their way books did. Teachers need time over the summer for professional development and should be able to hit the ground running the first week of September.

The fact that this committee continues to talk in broad generalities and that they were unable to bring any real substance or evidence to the table makes me think that they simply plan on bringing the same plan to us this year that hey did last year. Basically, they will do whatever the Pearson Textbook sales rep tells them to buy.

Hopefully they will consult with Fermi Lab or at least, the Illinois State Board of Education experts. Aren't we already paying for a consultant from the ROE? What were their recommendations? At this point, they might as well stop this math committee from wasting any more after school, $50/hr fees and "curriculum writing" expenses that they are charging us. We still don't even know who the mysterious teachers are on this committee are!! We should wait for the new superintendent to oversee these people. We have had enough experimental pilots these last few years. Scrap this pilot and wait until the new superintendent, who will hopefully have curriculum experience, so that he is available to supervise this group.

jay_wick said...

What happens when the district tries to operate "under the cover of darkness"?

It is pretty clear from recent facilities fiascoes that when the district decides to do something totally non-standard like use PLASTIC to replace the downspouts and results in the waste of $173,000 they'd understandably not want folks to scrutinize the decision to undo that work at a cost of an additional $33,600 -- 2013 summer work at HMS ...the district also will try a new method for connecting the downspouts to the sewer system.
"The new way will be better. There will be fewer leaks," ...

HMSMetalRoofOptIV-R23Apr14.pdf ... Reinstall metal downspouts $33,600 ...

I'm sure everyone has run into a mechanic that tries "swapping out parts" but when those 'repairs' are coming out of your pocket and causing you to make needless trips to the shop that is NOT the sign of a skilled professional. Does the BOE suffer from amnesia? Can they PLEASE adhere to standard procedures?

I see a similar pattern here with efforts to consider swapping math texts. When folks called out the BOE about a year ago over the disjointed mess that they saw when looking at the worksheets their children were bringing home one might have had some hope that something would be done to rectify the problems. Instead the recent report from Dr. Moon shows that these ineffective worksheets together with " heavy emphasis on drill, recitation, and procedural applications that were noted ... continues to be a lack of rigor and oftentimes challenge for the majority of learners." Believe me, substituting in textbooks without planning for appropriate staff development will lead to even more ineffective "drill and recitation" and a further gulf between the expectations of Common Core and the kind of mastery our kids should be accomplishing.

There are no "experts" at Fermi Lab when it comes to classroom instruction -- the DOE funds "education outreach" as much for Public Relations and political expediency as anything else... Fermilab Education Office A nice way to "supplement" things but not really the core / starting point that we seem to be missing.
Similarly the ISBE is as much about filling up a bureaucracy as any other state office in Springfield and the Regional Superintendent of Education is not all that different. State Board of Education

BallotPedia Darlene Ruscitti

There are real experts in classroom instruction available at the MANY fine colleges and universities in our backyard and why the district is reluctant to reach out to them remains a mystery.

We need more support for the kind of actions that would get MORE parents and community members input. The Superintendent's Curriculum Committee seemed like one such effort; why it has stalled should be answered ASAP.

Anonymous said...

When you are afraid that light might expose your dark mess, you probably want to draw as LITTLE attention to it as possible!

Anyone with an honest desire to grow and provide positive change would be willing to share and cooperate. However, our administrators so fear that their incompetence will become public, that they fearfully cancel meetings, blast the blog, withdraw, and hide in the shadows of pre-arranged, "positive" agendas. They only like change if it "non-negotiably" means that they do not have to explain themselves or communicate WITH people.

It makes me so sad that these people are in charge of my children's educations. Ironically, my own tax dollars are supporting the Kurt Schneider and his Marxist agenda of "social justice". The fact that he is "non-negotiatble", routinely refuses to answer emails and phone calls from parents, and fails to answer basic questions at meetings shows that he does not really have the community's interest in mind. Let's hope he doesn't start cutting out the entire special education department when he starts saying that children with 504s and IEPs really do NOT have special needs. Where does he draw the line with inclusion? Does he listen to parents and teachers if they don't feel the classroom is the best place for their child to learn? Just because TASH likes his ideas, do special ed parents in our district like his ideas? Would they ever come forward and be honest, or would they be too fearful because they might fear that their child's special services might be cut?

He might have had what it takes to be a theoretical university professor, or to routinely speak with his old comrades at conferences, but he does NOT have enough practical experience in schools OR educational curriculum to be on our district's Department of Learning.

Anonymous said...

"There are real experts in classroom instruction available at the MANY fine colleges and universities in our backyard and why the district is reluctant to reach out to them remains a mystery."

Ahhh Mr. Wick, you're forgetting that the administration has its own agenda and if outsiders were involved it would mess up their plans....aka study.