This evening we received the following comment from respected D181/D86 Parent Jill Quinones. Because the events that are taking place in D86 will have a direct impact on all D181 families and taxpayers, we are posting this comment as a free standing post. While Ms. Quinones has signed her name to this post, we are not disclosing the name of the other community member who emailed her. The person's name is irrelevant. What is relevant is the content of his email. We were shocked to read it. Thank you to Ms. Quinones for clearly articulating why D86 students have every right to get involved in the D86 contract dispute debate. Please sound off with your opinions!
Dear Bloggers, I recently wrote to a retired Hinsdale Central coach seeking some assistance on behalf of some D86 athletes and their parents in connection with the current negotiations situation in the District. My email went only to the coach, but he sent it on to some of his former colleague coaches at both D86 high schools. Somewhere along the way, one of these coaches or someone sent the forwarded the email to _________. ________ took it upon himself to contact me.
Below is his email and my response. I am asking you to post this exchange as a free standing post so your readers can understand what little regard the Board majority supporters have for students, teachers, and quality high school education. They are so focused on their anti-union political ideology that they refuse to see the big picture and how their actions are hurting the communities that make up D86 an the people who live in them. Whether your readers are pro-union, anti-union or neutral, this level of political ideology needs to be focused at a different level of government than a local school district. The collateral damage is too personal.
Email Exchange (read from the bottom up):
From: Jill QuinonesSubject: Re: District 86 Unionists Now Organizing Children?Date: October 3, 2014 at 7:18:53 PM CDTTo:______________ ,Please see my responses to you below, in red.On Oct 3, 2014, at 3:05 PM, ____________ wrote:Jill,I’ll be courteous and answer each of your questions first, then ask mine again.I “intercepted” nothing but received the below information. The word “intercepted” would infer action or effort I would have taken to see such message, yet no action or effort was taken by me as the message was sent to me unsolicited. Your e-mail address was included in the message. In that message, you or somebody purporting to be you wrote, “Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions” so I did.In your note to me you referred to the high school students as "children" and you wrote “what child in D86 do you think is properly qualified to comment or contribute to the teacher pay and benefits issue before the board?” Qualification presumes knowledge base. And I do not know about your teenagers, but mine would explicitly take being referred to as children as perjorative – no inference needed.It’s a fact that very few high schoolers are age 18. I graduated from Hinsdale Central in June 1972 and was 18 years of age that June. I recall being among the oldest in my class.Obviously neither of us have access to the birthdates of every student in D86, but in the mid-late 90s (it was recently changed) students did not have to start 1st grade until they turned 7. They could start K at 5 and 1st grade at 6, but were not required to and some parents even had their children attend double kindergarten (more often boys than girls), thus making them 7 when they started first grade. This has become more prevalent in the last 10-20 years, long after you started 1st grade if you graduated high school in 1972. A student who started 1st grade at 7 would be 18 by Senior year. Obviously there are also students who started 1st grade at age 6, but even some of these children could be turning 18 during their senior year. Only those who just turned 6 June-Sept 1 when they started 1st grade would not turn 18 before they graduated high school (as well as any child who was accelerated during his/her school career).Very few of my classmates were age 18 by the time of graduation and none were remotely conversant in the art of employee pay, retirement benefits, regulatory budgets or union contract negotiations as evidenced by their absence at normalized school board meetings not involving contract talks or strikes.Surely you will acknowledge that the 18 year old of today is extremely different in knowledge base than the 18 year old in 1972 (or 1982 or 1992 for that matter). I’m sure your classmates certainly lacked the technology knowledge of today’s teenagers as well as the enormous amount of information now immediately available to them through technology. In addition, AP (college level class offerings) were in their infancy in 1972 – I’m not even sure if D86 was offering them. The sheer numbers of D86 students today taking these classes and passing the AP tests with scores high enough to exempt them out of college level classes is a testament to their intelligence. As is the number of National Merit Scholars and students with perfect or close to perfect ACT and SAT scores. These are very smart kids. I have no doubt that any AP Calculus, AP Economics, or AP US History student could effectively speak to “employee pay, retirement benefits, regulatory budgets, or union contracts." BUT they are not choosing to speak about these things. (And I am not sure how many school Board meetings you attend, but not only do students attend from time to time, they actually have a student representative/liasion who attends on their behalf and reports back to the student body - most meetings, not just recent ones). The fact is, the “call to action” as you call it was actually devised by some very concerned student athletes who are worried about their athletic season. They enlisted parent support to help them operationalize their plan. Although Mr. King referred to it as my plan, I assure you, it did not originate with me.Moreover, to make them a part of this issue by having them dress up and appear to “love” their teachers amounts to nothing but a theater of the absurd.No one is "making students dress up and appear to love their teachers" (have you ever tried to “make” your teenagers do anything?). They have chosen to do so and they do love their teachers. Many, many current studens and recent alumns have already spoken up at Board Meetings this summer and fall. No one made them do it. As to the current students, it is their school, it is their future, they have a right to stand up and express themselves to the Board of Education whether they are of voting age or not. Did you see the BOE meeting where the Central Football players came to urge the Board to get a move on and get them a coach? This will not be the first or the last time these very bright and articulate young men and women stand up and decide to advocate on their own behalf. I am sorry if student activism doesn’t sit well with you, but it should not be surprising to see in communities such as those comprising D86. These students do not need to speak about the economics of the contract negotiations (although I am sure many of them can and might) nor do I believe that is their intent.Under no circumstance of civility should children be brought into this debate. It’s despicable to dress up kids to be used for partisan political adult causes.The only despicable partisan politics going on right now are those of the Board negotiators. They are letting their ideology block their ability to compromise. Ideology does not compromise, but elected officials should. They have a variety of interests they are charged with balancing and to date the only one coming through loud and clear is their economic one (and their disdain for Unions which is NOT part of their charge). Last night they rejected as "no compromise" an offer with significant financial compromise and which was fully funded using the District's own financial projections. Sounds like more is in play for the negotiators than the financial health of the District here.PLAY LIKE AN ADULTAdults support their almost-adult students in standing on their own two feet and advocating for themselves, so to that end, we are clearly “playing like adults”– KEEP THE CHILDREN OUT OF THIS ISSUEIt is not up to me or you or anyone to “keep children out of it” if they want to be heard about their schools. And again, they are not really "children" as you are using that word.AND STOP TALKING ABOUT LOVING TEACHERS. Love of teachers is not at issue here.You are as myopic as the BOE negotiators if you believe love of these teachers is not an issue here. These schools, and their teachers are part of our community. They are why most of us moved here and voluntarily pay higher taxes than we might elsewhere. These teachers have contributed to the success of every student who comes their way. Most of us see value in that, even if some ideologues do not.
I repeat:1. Are the below e-mails real calls to action?If you mean by "call to action" words that urge the reader to take an immediate action, that is exactly what it is. Point of clarification - I am not a D86 Unionist (your email heading) nor are the parents of the students who devised this plan.
2. And if the below messages are true and accurate, what child in District 86 do you think is properly qualified to comment or contribute to the union teacher pay and benefits issue before the board? Again, the sheer numbers of D86 students today taking these classes (AP) and passing the AP tests with scores high enough to exempt them out of college level classes is a testament to their intelligence. As is the number of National Merit Scholars and students with perfect or close to perfect ACT and SAT scores. These are very smart kids. I have no doubt that any AP Calculus, AP Economics, or AP US HIstory student could effectively speak to “employee pay, retirement benefits, regulatory budgets, or union contracts." BUT they are not choosing to speak about these things.I believe I have answered your questions. I am quite sure there is a lot on which we will have to agree to disagree. To the extent you believe I extended an invitation to you to contact me (which I believe I have explained to you that I did not), that invitation is hereby revoked. Please do not contact me again about this or any related matter, because I have learned long ago that certain people are not worth trying to reason with and honestly you strike me as one of those people.JQGiven that we have never met, and you appear to be focused on what is right and wrong, how would it be that (1) you have intercepted an email from Corky King that was never sent to you and (2) you got my email address? Even High School children know that such actions are inappropriate if not illegal. They know a lot more that you aren't giving them credit for as well. Did you know that many of them are old enough to vote? Sent from my iPhoneOn Oct 3, 2014, at 12:43 PM, __________ wrote:Jill,We’ve never met.Is the below accurate in that you are attempting to organize and involve high school children into the current union wage debate?Are the below e-mails real calls to action?And if the below messages are true and accurate, what child in District 86 do you think is properly qualified to comment or contribute to the teacher pay and benefits issue before the board?_______________