Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Daily Reason #2" Why Marty Turek Should NOT be Re-elected to the D181 BOE

#2:  As the board president for the last 2 years, Mr. Turek's job has been to preside over the board meetings, however, his actual authority during said meetings is no greater than the other six board members.  (Board Policy 2:110.) Rather than facilitate discussions during the meetings, listen to and take his fellow board members' opinions on issues into consideration, he has attacked them and tried to shut them down. Case in point, suggesting during the 12/9/13 board meeting that well respected Board Member Brendan Heneghan was going down a "rat hole" when he suggested there should be a curriculum committee similar to the finance committee. Less than one year later, a curriculum committee called the Learning Committee has been formed.  We guess Mr. Turek got it wrong when he called Mr. Heneghan out.

Running List of the Daily Reasons:

Daily reason #1:  Four years ago the Hinsdale Caucus got it right when they did not endorse Mr. Turek.  


Anonymous said...

At the bottom of this post please find a link to an article about the horrors of differentiated instruction that every D181 parent should read.

The conclusion is that the proponents of "Learning for All," and similar programs have eliminated the achievement gap by eliminating achievement.

In part, the article reads:

"The elimination of ability grouping occurs mostly in the lower grades but also extends to early courses in high school. The practice of such full inclusion is now so commonplace that theories have emerged to justify its practice and to address the problems it brings. “Learning styles” and “multiple intelligences” are now commonplace terms that are taught in schools of education, along with the technique known as “differentiated instruction” to address how to teach students with diverse backgrounds and ability in the subject matter.

"Teachers are expected to “differentiate instruction” to each student, and to keep whole-group instruction to a minimum. To do this, the teacher gives a “mini-lesson” that lasts 10 to 15 minutes; then students work in small groups and told to work together. The prevailing belief is that by forcing students to solve problems in groups, to rely on each other rather than the teacher, the techniques and concepts needed to solve the problem will emerge through discovery, and students will be forced to learn what is needed in a “just in time” basis This amounts to giving students easy problems, but with hard and sometimes impossible approaches since they have been given little to no effective instruction to the mathematics that results in effective mathematics problem solvers.

"The limitations of differentiated instruction work hand-in-hand with other aspects of the educational beliefs that shun “traditional” modes of instruction. (Beals (2009) describes the current trends in very accurate detail.) It is not unusual to hear parents concerned over art-based projects in English classes that call for students writing book reports in the form of a book jacket or poster—in which the artistic merits of the poster or book jacket may count as much as the actual composition. Exercises in grammar have declined to the point that they are almost extinct. Essays now are “student-centered” which is to say that students write about how they feel about certain events that occur in a story, relating it to themselves—this extends to history classes as well. They may be asked how Hester Prynne would write a profile about herself on Facebook, or George Washington on the eve of battle. Objective analysis, along with grammatical drill, sentence and paragraph structure and other tenets of a basic education are considered pass√© and not in keeping with the current watchword of 21st century education."

If the pull quote resembles your experience in the district, you have two choices. First, get your kids into private school. If that's not an option, mobilize to clean house and get the idiot administrators who foist this nonsense on our children out of education and into unemployment. This is our school district, not theirs.

Here's the link:

jay_wick said...

Sorry, I have seen the stuff that Mr. Garelick puts up on the "education news" site and he is just too much of a hardcore / retrograde reactionary for me to take seriously.

It is way too much to expect individual parents to either take their kids out of public schools or 'rise up' and depose the administration that is LEGALLY OBLIGATED to support the testing regimen of Common Core / PARCC...

The most reasonable course of action is to recognize Common Core for the pile of yucky politically driven stink that it is, give it the "minimum energy needed" to keep its small-minded proponents happy in their predictably lowest-common-denominator way AND continue to make sure that one's own children / teachers / schools are negatively impacted as little as possible by this FAD...

The dismantling of Common Core / PARCC will come through POLITICAL MEANS and will require patience as well as cooperation between all kinds of wise citizens.

Anonymous said...


I like you, but you are off base.

Your dismissiveness of Garelick simply because you don't like his other writings misses the point. This article is not about dismantling the common core. It's here, it's political. We get it.

The article is aimed at the differentiation that the Department of Learning has foisted on us through the Learning For All Plan. The article makes a great case for the ineffectiveness of differentiation (which you well know is not part of the Common Core). Moreover, the pull quote very closely resembles my own experience with the grade schools in this district. The bottom line is that they are doing NOTHING to teach reading, writing or grammar. And math is a fiasco.

I notice that anytime someone advocates for the removal of administrators, your reaction is both swift and identical. You don't like the idea or at the very least you dismiss it as "unrealistic."

I disagree. Contract or no contract, people who are incompetent get fired all the time. Further, almost anyone who posts or reads this blog agrees that Benatis and Schneider have hurt our kids and should be dismissed. Most would also agree that the BOE who let this happen should be voted out. It is not some fantasy to suggest that if enough parents simply expressed their dissatisfaction with the direction of the district, the Department of Learning would change drastically, either through attrition, failing upward to another district, abandoning the LFA Plan or simply firing the bad seeds.

So even if you think it's a bad idea to advocate openly for a change in administrators, I'm going to do it anyway. And frankly, you should stop discouraging other people from doing the same simply because you think it's a waste of time. Like most parents, I don't have time to wait for the political process to work its way through the system, as you suggest. My kids will be done with grade school by then. They've been damaged enough already by Schneider and his idiocy.

I encourage others to share their justified disdain for what is occurring in our district with Dr. White, the BOE and anyone else who will listen. Speak out at BOE meetings and call for immediate change. It is NOT a waste of time.

jay_wick said...

Look, there is a window when the contracts of folks from the prior adminstration can be "non-renewed". It makes sense to argue for Dr. White and the BOE to consider that option when it is maybe 30-60 days in the future. To constantly harp on some fantasy that is wholly unlikely makes it too easy to dismiss as senseless whining.

Catalog the failings of the various district staff that seem unable to accomplish anything that they have been tasked with, do whatever it takes to spread word of such shortcomings and go right ahead and write the BOE & superintendent. Just realize that if this blog ceases to be a forum that has at least of modicum of respect of the reality of what must transpire before anyone is non-renewed if becomes too easy to dismiss the whole effort.

Similarly if you want me or anyone else that to ignore the obvious shortcomings of somebody that rants not just about Common Core but anything in mathematics education that took place after the Kennedy administration as worthless, you are not going to have many adherents of such nonsense.
Honestly, going off the "deep end" with overly reactionary types is a recipe for disaster and feeds right into the sort of nonsensical strawman that the 'campus radicals' prop up in defense of their whacky schemes. Overly strident followers of "shut and listen to me" type instruction are exactly the sort of stereotypical 'stone age' teachers that fuel the fevered immigrations of the TASH zealots...

When arguements like this break out, even the patient members of the BOE get uncomfortable becuase they know radical changes are not right for our district.

We need changes that help us move away from the ineffectiveness of L4A, which is easy to demonstrate has done nothing good for our students or overall district successs. We need efforts that have been shown to be consistent with mainstream responses to the challenges of modern classrooms.

I can't beleive there are fools two decades older than me with a world view stuck in an era when reformatories, sanitariums and asylums were common refuges for those not "mainstreamed" that think they can be effective as classroom teachers. Honestly that sort of nuttiness is what I'd expect out of Skoda's little band of Paleolithic-era sticks-in-mud... Sheesh.

I am writting this on my now four year old iPad, it is wonderful tool. That said I have seen folks load up horrendously ineffective applications that do nothing to help student learning far more often than I have seen apps that are valuable. The fact is it is extremely difficult to do teach things well or write software that is useful and all too easy to waste resources on things that just don't work. The process of adopting Common Core without adequate field testing, with far too much power and reliance in the hands of self-serving higher education professors will collapse of its own hubris. Districts like ours that have the potential to really set a a much higher bar ought to strive to really be a shining example of what can be achieved by deeply committed parents, teachers and students working together.

Anonymous said...


You are filibustering. None of anything you said is remotely on point. Focus.

And if you haven't noticed, the radical change has already occurred. It's called LFA and differentiated instruction. By they way, it's failing. More to the point, it's hurting my kids. I will not abide it.

The proponents of this system have to go or abandon it all together. End of story.

jay_wick said...

If you have attended any of the BOE meetings you should realize that though the members generally seem polite enough when listening to "public comments" there has been little evidence that anything short of a massive "show of force" results in action. This is consistent with a BOE driven not by facts / shared vision but mere "political opportunism".

Perhaps people like Yeager and Nelson who are present so infrequently contribute to this "I had no idea" type non-reaction, but I cannot explain how Vorobiev and Clarin, who both seem to actually be awake for the BOE meetings, have not allied themselves with Heneghan and Garg in asking for more specific answers from the Administration. When the staff actually produce answers to Garg's or Heneghan's questions, that any sane person would find damning, the oh so conciliatory Turek gently pulls the rug over the mess and throws in a few "heckuva a job Brownie"s for good measure... {We all know Turek is concerned only with using the BOE as a stepping stone to higher elective office; delusional though it may be, he seems to be modeling his behavior after that of Rod Blagojevich or perhaps even Barack Obama, whose non-committal votes of 'present' allowed them to sail out of the Illinois State Senate onto higher office, greatly expanding their income / securing a lifetime pension (well I think Blago may have forfeited his with the conviction)...}.

Based on what it has taken to get the BOE to act on anything I strongly suggest organizing aggrieved parents (get lots of dads...) to show up to meetings in the spring. While a "script" is not really advisable, the common theme that speakers should include is how your children have been emotionally hurt by aspects of L4A, {Turek reacts much more swiftly to tears than numbers...} Suggestions: "my son / daughter weeps when they tell me about other kids explaining lessons to them instead of the teacher","night after night my child sobs at the thought of enduring another day of classes than puts them behind their cousins at better run public schools in Downers Grove / Park Ridge / Barrington / Wilmette / Deerfield", "at our house the arrival of ISAT results caused my son/daughter to actually vomit when they realized how poorly the peer coaching of L4A prepared them for PARCC style test, don't let this happen again", "my older child begged me to plead with the BOE because they remember how much more effective classroom time was when there was appropriate grouping", "my son / daughter literally cries as I drop them off at school because they feel the mini-lessons are so unfair that they just don't want to go school anymore", "my son / daughter in special education has told me that they are not getting enough time with the kinds of help they need because the L4A classroom is just too disorganized"...

Clearly DATA DOES NOT MATTER TO THIS BOE ANYMORE, they've become so immune to hearing this mantra about "single data points" that they have fully embraced the nonsense of willfully ignoring all data.

If the district staff had their "secret plan" to bump all of our district's schools from the "Illinois State Academic Honor Roll" as a way of raising up the less economically well off districts that they seem much more emotionally connected to, they've succeeded. Perhaps the BOE will realize this if a few dozen angry parents all show up...

Believe me, I am not advocating for "more chances" for district staff but merely following a more cunning pattern of what has been proven to motivate this BOE to action...

Anonymous said...

We need administrators who know what they are doing with curriculum. We moved here for proven educational programs. Obviously Dr. White knows about advanced learning but is choosing not to divulge that information. So it looks like we are the case of "A district deceived...". Obviously he had someone in Troy who understood curriculum and whom he probably supported or did a good job of pretending to support until he moved to D181. They acknowledge differences and talent. Here enrichment and acceleration may be provided discreetly so no one knows about it to ask about it. No one feels bad in the classroom since the kids don't really notice when someone keeps needing more help or someone always knows the answer. It's all very realistic and really preparing my child for the real world. Can I sue the district if my child isn't ready for college in a few years based on what they have done? Also which college are we talking about, a community college or tier 1, 2, 3...? Are the following not applicable:

Do these people know how talented you have to be to get into these institutions? It's not just about the academics but unless you are an exceptional athlete or musician etc., academics do matter especially for scholarships, dean lists and honor societies. I don't know if my child will get in but why not give that opportunity to some or many of our students.

Marty Turek obviously doesn't care. Diving deeper could mean diving into the deep side of a pool.