Last Friday, Dr. White emailed parents who had applied to serve on the Superintendent's Learning Committee. Nine of 28 parents who applied for the position received good news. The rest learned they had not been selected. A link to the D181 Website was included in the letter that lists the names of the parents, board members and central administrators who were selected, as well as information on the purpose of the committee. Names of principals and teachers who will serve on the committee have not yet been released to the public.
LINK to Learning Committee:
At the end of this post, we have copied the comments we received this weekend regarding this committee. In addition, we would like to make the following observations:
-- It is ironic that Board Member Yaeger is serving on this committee instead of Mr. Heneghan who we believe previously expressed an interest in serving on it. Mr. Yaeger currently serves on the Finance Committee and everyone is well aware of his poor attendance record in serving on that one. If Mr. Yaeger intends to attend 100% of these meetings, then by all means, he should stay on the committee. But if he is not going to make this committee a priority, then he should step off now before it begins its important work.
-- We recognize the names of several individuals who have been appointed to the committee. We want to recognize two of them and commend the administration for selecting Leslie Gray and Susan Owens, who have shown a real awareness of the curriculum issues over the last couple of years. They have been vocal advocates for all of our children and critics (at times) of the work done by the Central Administration and the Learning for All Plan. We know they will be committed to ensuring that the recommendations that the Learning Committee makes are reasoned, data driven and will not cause further harm to our students, but hope that they will not hesitate to speak out publicly in opposition if they believe the best interests of all students are not being met by the committee.
-- We also are aware of the names of over five community members (who we will not name publicly) who applied to serve on this committee in a timely manner. They submitted their application by the first deadline and are all qualified to serve on the committee. Moreover, they represented multiple schools in the district -- Walker, Prospect, Oak, Lane, Madison, CHMS. They have attended board meetings on a regular basis, have made public comments or submitted letters and research to the board and administration to back up concerns they have raised over the last two years regarding the Learning for All Plan. At least two of these parents are former or current teachers (from other school districts). They have been actively involved in PTO committees at their schools either currently or in the past and they are all highly respected. YET THEY WERE ALL REJECTED FROM SERVING ON THIS COMMITTEE.
-- We do not know how many of the "chosen" parents submitted their applications prior to the initial deadline set by Dr. Schuster, but we do know that the parents we reference above all did and would have fulfilled their obligations and duty to serve on this committee in a fair, informed and committed fashion, would have each represented a different school, and yet the administration turned them all down and kept extending the deadline until there was a larger pool of applicants.
WE CRY FOUL!
The extensions of time to submit applications were unfair to these parents who not only have proven their commitment in the past to all of the D181 students, but jumped through all of the necessary hoops to serve on this committee and did so without prodding from the administration after the initial deadline was extended. We are not criticizing any of the parents who have been selected because they too submitted applications (and some may have before the first deadline was extended), and we assume they would not have done so if they didn't have a real interest in serving. But we do criticize the administration because based upon their rejection of parents that they or certain BOE members have characterized as "naysayers," it makes us question when the applications of the appointees were received, and whether anyone from the administration contacted them and asked them to submit applications. We are sure we will never know the answer to the latter question, but if the administration wants to be transparent, it should release the names of the 28 applicants and the dates when they submitted their applications. It should also release the applications they submitted so the community will know their backgrounds and qualifications to serve on this committee. The administration should also release the names/schools of the teachers and principals who will be on the committee. It is concerning that their names have not been identified yet.
While they may not be allowed to participate in the committee meetings, any parent, including those who applied and were not selected, should also be allowed to attend and "observe" the committee meetings, in order to stay informed as to the work it is doing. Or, as an alternative, the committee meetings should be videotaped as are all committee meetings at the high school district -- D86, or audio-taped, and posted on the D181 website. If Dr. White wants to be completely transparent and regain the trust he may have already lost from some of the disappointed parents, he should allow one of these options, since after all, this is a SUPERINTENDENT'S committee and he can "make the rules."
PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED COMMENTS RE: PARENT APPOINTMENTS TO THE LEARNING COMMITTEE:
Jill Quinones said...
Hopefully not a tarnish on the great start, but decisions on who was selected for Superintendent Learning Committee went out today. I was not selected, but would be curious of anyone else who read the blog was or knows someone who was. The letter, of course, did not list who comprises the Committee - so much for transparency.
No nod for me either.
Heard from another high informed, well qualified parent that she was not selected.
Does make one speculate as to the criteria for inclusion...
My theory is that parents who were chosen have children affected by the math pilot. I was not selected either. If this is the case, then the email should have stated this.
Maybe I've suffered from too much of the hi-jinx this BOE has already put of us through or maybe my "evil angel" has gotten the better of me but I'll say it anyhow -- the parents chosen are probably those with a propensity toward:
B) not showing up
C) already advocating for new facilities
Have a delightful summer...
Parent members of learning committee were posted on the website. A link to the info was included in the ding letter.
Here's the link -- I forgot to include it:
Wow to the poster who thinks the people chosen for the committee are gullible, don't show up and advocates for new facilities. Did it ever cross your mind that perhaps many highly qualified people put in applications? Maybe the criteria was to have an open mind and not be judgmental. Why insult your fellow parents who most likely share many of the same concerns you have? Perhaps you should withhold judgement until you have something tangible to criticize. Don't blame your sour grapes on BOE hi-jinx. I thought one of the tenets of this blog was to not attack people, especially fellow parents who haven't done anything to deserve it, other than get chosen for a committee. I thought the blog monitors were watching for this type of attack.
I agree 6:54. Sounds like sour grapes to me. Maybe some of the parents not chosen (not you, Jill) have shown an inability to listen and/or be respectful of others and/or consider viewpoints other than their own which prevented their selection. Just because a parent doesn't feel comfortable speaking publicly at a meeting or agree with everything the bloggers have to say, doesn't mean they are gullible, uninformed or uninvolved. It is that sort of condescending and egocentric attitude that has caused so many problems for everyone involved with these issues. Come on people, give this a chance to work and stop waiting to pounce on every little thing.
Surely none of the current members of the board of education / staff would be so thin skinned as to pass over well qualified parents that might be critical of prior actions.
It will be interesting to see how the district level staffing decisions to replace departed employees reflect on Dr. White's approach to finding personnel that share his views / bring a diversity of experience to their role.
It is nice that the web page for the learning committee includes the full list of parents selected; that information is not published for the other superintendent's committees (facilities, finance) maybe not a major sea change but at least a step in the right direction.
I have been very critical for many years and I was chosen. I really believe it has more to do with attaining a variety of school representation, age of children and academic ability/needs of children than anything. And they may be looking for fresh and different perspectives, or to hear from new parents, as well. I agree, though, that if some of the parents haven't been involved with these issues, they will have a steep learning curve which, hopefully they are willing to take on. I don't believe they would choose a teacher from another school district, Jill. And let's not forget, parents represent a minority role on this committee. We are not decision makers and that is as it should be.
I have been very outspoken and I was included. I do feel badly that I was chosen and so manly highly qualified parents were not. I wish more parents could have been included.