Thursday, February 19, 2015

UPDATE to 2/18/15 Post on Amy McCurry: Her Lack of Transparency Continues

Yesterday we ran a post on two issues that in our opinion require BOE Candidate Amy McCurry to withdraw from the election.  Today, our concerns were solidified when we read the BIO Ms. McCurry submitted for publication in the Hinsdalean. (Copied below.)

Ms. McCurry failed AGAIN to identify that she is CURRENTLY a PAID D181 Employee in the Department of Learning.  She is not just a "stay at home mom" as she states her "Occupation" to be.  Instead, under "Community Service" she lists "Parent Liaison for District 181 Family Resource Network - Walker School."

We are outraged at the deceptive nature of her representations.  Being a PAID EMPLOYEE is NOT considered community service!  Community Service means you are an unpaid VOLUNTEER.

Ms. McCurry obviously doesn't want the community at large to realize that she has a Conflict of Interest.  Not very transparent for a person who wants to be elected to public office.

Again, we urge her to withdraw her candidacy.

(Source:  2/19/15 Hinsdalean newspaper.)


Anonymous said...

Is the reason she says she has constant exposure to vital topics concerning all residents and property values" because her husband is a realtor in. Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills? The fact that Pam Lannom 's newspaper is benefitting financially from the full page ad that Ms. McCurry's husband has in today's Hinsdalean seems to be a conflict of interest for this newspaper. If the editor has a financial interest in supporting The McCurry's, one that existed in the past, and one that will surely extend to the future, it seems like there is an obvious conflict of interest between the McCurrys and The Hinsdalean. It seems unethical that the person who interviews the candidates and selects what appears in the paper is also making money off one of the candidate's spouses.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree 10:06!! Was wondering the same thing myself. Shouldn't the paper have reported the facts? What about journalistic ethics? Does The Hinsdalean care about the facts and truth and shouldn't they have disclosed that Ms. McCurry's husband provides significant financial support to the paper? Wow. Makes you wonder how else they've skewed the facts not just in this case but in other stories as well. In journalism credibility is everything. Without it you have nothing but opinions and gossip. The Hinsdalean showed its true colors today.

Anonymous said...

Since her husband is a realtor, and it's in her financial interest to cover up any problems that might discourage families from moving here, I am not sure she is the right person to have a spot on the BOE. People pay a premium to live in an area with excellent public schools. When Ms. McCurry stands up in a public forum, supposedly representing the community, and saying that there are no issues and that everything in D181 is fabulous, she is really only looking out for the interests of her own family. She is continuing to hide the real issues our schools are facing and promotes the "obfuscation" that abounds in D181.

The Parents said...

We have received a couple of comments that attack individuals who work for the Hinsdalean. We will not post any that reference their staff by name. If you want us to publish your comments, please resubmit.

Anonymous said...

I really didn't believe the blog so I googled for myself and you are telling the truth. Why didn't Ms McCurry disclose in the Hinsdalean that she works for Dr. Schneider? That's very disturbing. She's not exactly lying but she's not telling the public the truth. As a voting member of this community, she lost my trust. I will not vote for her because of this.

Anonymous said...

Bloggers: can you just redact the names?

The Parents said...

We will.

Anonymous said...

At the very least the Hinsdalean should have reported the conflict. Looks like they and Ms. McCurry subscribe to the same principles regarding honesty and transparency. Or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

If I was a realtor in this town, I would do whatever it took to make sure that D181's and D86s school's scores stopped falling. It is crazy to see how our rankings have fallen in the last few years.

Chicago Magazine's best schools issues will come out pretty soon, and unfortunately, I don't think anyone from D181 works for, or financially benefits from that magazine. That, and the Chicago Tribune is what all the young city families and out of towner's read when trying to decide what suburb to move to. I don't think anyone who lives in this community can afford their property values to fall any more. Especially if our taxes keep going up. My friends who sell their homes in Evanston and the North Shore sell their homes in less than a week. Here, it takes months, sometimes years, AND significant price cuts.

Anonymous said...

This is really upsetting me. I have a 5th grader who goes to the middle school for accelerated math. How dare Ms. McCurry talk about anyone else's kids, or support the elimination of an academic program that services my child's needs? Who does she think she is? I won't vote for her and will tell all my friends and neighbors that they shouldn't either.

Anonymous said...

The Hinsdalean listed every candidates board experience today - that is every candidate except McCurry. That was not included in her bio.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone go to the facilities focus group on the 18th/19th? If so, was it well attended? Was there anything interesting? I'm attaching the e-mail I got from Bridget McGuiggan about it. I wonder why she has quotes around the "Open" in the next to last paragraph.

Good afternoon!
As we continue our facilities-focused engagement and research work, focus groups will be a key next step. The focus groups will be led by a facilitator from our partner firm Patron Insight. The purpose is to gain qualitative information that will help guide decision making and the survey work we’ll be doing. Participants will be asked to discuss:
Thoughts about the District (i.e. your general perception)
Facility needs (i.e. small group spaces, parking)
Options related to future facility planning (i.e. potential HMS solutions)
Questions (i.e. what you would want to know more about moving forward)
We of course are including staff in the focus group opportunity, and we hope YOU can participate! One focus group will be held for CHMS staff and CHMS feeder school staff on Wednesday, February 18 at 4pm. The second focus group will be held for HMS staff and HMS feeder school staff on Thursday, February 19 at 4pm. (District-wide staff can attend either one.) Sessions will last no more than 90 minutes.

Wednesday, February 18 at Prospect (4pm)
Staff in CHMS/Feeders and District-wide
Click here to register!

Thursday, February 19 at Prospect (4pm)
Staff in HMS/Feeders and District-wide
Click here to register!

There will be other focus groups for parents, students, etc. There is also an “open” event on each evening at 7:30pm for anyone who wants to participate.

If you will not be able to attend a focus group, but you are interested in sharing your feedback, please know that there will be other opportunities to get involved during this journey. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the engagement/research process.

Anonymous said...

They only want to engage me and get my input when they need my money. When it comes to educating my child, not so much. That is why I did not attend.

Anonymous said...

The BOE and administration don't listen to the community anyway unless hundreds of parents show up regarding an issue. They don't actually listen to or learn from what is being said, they just count bodies. Waste of time.

I'm betting money that Schneider wants a new school designed around his inclusive classroom agenda. Heck, why don't we just tear down the interior walls at HMS and go back to open classrooms. Doesn't get more inclusive than that and the open classroom "fad" had just about as much success as L4A has had! But who really cares about student success as long as Schneider and White are happy continuing their experiment on our children?!

Yvonne Mayer said...

I am on Facebook and the Hinsdalean posted a "correction" to Ms. McCurry's BIO about one hour ago. How interesting. Here is what the Hinsdalean stated:

"We wanted to correct two items from D181 candidate Amy McCurry's profile in today's paper. In addition to volunteering as the Walker School parent liaison for the D181 Family Resource Network, she works part-time as a D181 family resource parent network liaison. Also she served on the board of the Clarendon Hills Auxiliary Chapter of the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago. We also are posting unedited copies of the information she sent us."

They also posted photos of the full bio she submitted, but I am not going to type it all in here. Hopefully they will run their correction, her full bio, in fact the full bios of all of the candidates in next week's Hinsdalean and on their online coverage.

I don't know why they would call her a "stay at home mom" when the occupation she gave them included being the D181 Parent Liaison for the family resource network since 2013. Why didn't the Hinsdalean just publish the facts?

Anonymous said...

Why would the Hinsdalean edit the candidates's bios? Did they leave anything out of anybody else's? They need to post everyone's bios on facebook otherwise they are giving Ms. McCurry an unfair advantage. Not very fair, and just makes their own conflict of interest more obvious. The minute they got caught posting a bio that conveniently excluded the conflict of interest Ms. McCurry has, they scrambled to fix it, but in doing so also revealed their bias.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the Hinsdalean primarily supported by the realtors in town and isn't McCurry's husband a local realtor? Makes you wonder about the Hinsdalean and objectivity or lack thereof.

They seem to be unjustly trying to make McCurry look good and purposely not revealing her conflict of interest. It's bad enough when the candidate isn't being transparent, but what happened to journalistic credibility?

Anonymous said...

And what about McCurry's board experience?

Anonymous said...

So Ms. McCurry stated her occupation as D181 Parent Liaison for the Family Resource Network and the Hinsdalean printed it up as a volunteer position and listed her occupation as a stay-at-home mom? Why was that deliberately changed and printed in the newspaper? Did The Hinsdalean help cover up this conflict of interest that Ms. McCurry has? And I agree, they need to publish each candidate’s bio in its entirety. Clearly, the Hinsdalean cannot be trusted. What else did they change or eliminate to make candidates look more or less favorable in the public eye? This is pretty shocking.

Anonymous said...

The corrections are not up on the Hinsdalean website. Only the original news story. Why are they just posting corrections on Facebook? Do they really think all of their subscribers have a Facebook page and follow them? How arrogant. They need to post the correction immediately on the online cite AND post everyone's bios. Not just D181 but D86 candidates as well. This is truly unbelievable that they -- either on their own, or in collaboration with a candidate -- modified the bio that was published for the community at large. Really shocking.

Anonymous said...

How do we even know that the "bio" the Hinsdalean has posted on facebook was actually the original one? In my opinion, the paper has lost all credibility and I don't know what to believe.

Anonymous said...

Well, the d181 position is a conflict, but I would assume that if she wins a Board seat, she would just resign her part-time position to resolve the conflict.

Wouldn't that make sense? Perhaps it is not a problem, if that is the case.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe it. Now you are accusing the Hinsdalean of having an agenda?? That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard! People on this blog have made it very clear that you will accuse, attack and completely distort the truth about anyone and anything that does not believe what you believe. So now, not only has every board member that supports the administration, every candidate that is running that does not agree with you, every teacher that speaks at a BOE meeting that does not agree with you have all been wrong in your eyes but now the Hinsdalean too?? PLEASE, enough is enough!

The Parents said...

4:45: We have not accused the paper of doing anything. People who have written comments have stated their opinions and we have published them, just like we are publishing your opinions. But we will say this, people in this community are not stupid and will question things that they don't think "smell right."

4:24: In our opinion, the conflict will still exist, as we described in our first post on Ms. McCurry. Please read it. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion.

Anonymous said...

I would like to add that we only have Ms. McCurry's word that she would resign if elected. Mr. Clarin said while he was running that if he were elected he would recuse himself from teacher negotiations. He then got elected and became the lead negotiator. By all reports we gave everything away! Conflicts matter. Can we afford to have two BOE members who have personal and financial conflicts with the administration?This is a huge issue and anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.

Anonymous said...

4:45 Come back.

We really want to hear from any administration supporters. Please, please come back and comment on the substance of the issues raised on this blog.

I personally just can't believe that the administrators are as deceitful as they claim on this site.

However, I see that bloggers and commenters have laid out valid questions. I keep assuming that those who support the administration will explain why they are wrong but that has not happened.

Tell us what you don't agree with? I want to support the administration but when supporters posts like yours only skirt the primary issues, I just causes me to become more concerned that the commenters here are correct.

Come back and tell me why they are wrong! I do not want to believe that they are ending programs that work and replacing them with untested and untried programs with no plan or metrics in place and refuse to discuss it with the public.

Say it ain't so. Tell me this is not true and how you know.

Anonymous said...

4:45, it is naive to believe that the press doesn't have agendas and biases. Just watch Fox News and MSNBC to see clear cut examples of this. It is as unacceptable on a national level as it is on a local level. So, yes, people are suspicious, especially given Ms. McCurry's employment with D181, her last minute candidacy, and The Hinsdalean's well-known bias and inaccurate past reporting when it comes to district issues. I wish that journalism was the truth-seeking, respected profession it once was but, unfortunately, it is not.

And, for the record, while there may occasionally be some fact distortion on this blog, there is significantly MORE fact distortion (and fact hiding) that has been carried out by the D181 administration for 3 years. I should know, I've attended or listened to almost every substantive BOE meeting, community engagement meeting, symposium and the like during that time. Can you say the same?

Anonymous said...

6:46, 4:45 cannot defend the administration's actions because he or she either a. doesn't have enough knowledge to do so (which explains why she seems to be so enamored with their plan) or b. has realized that the points made on this blog are good ones, ones that should be answered by the "professionals" but won't be because they are inconvenient and to do so would mean that Dr. Schneider would be unable to go forward with his plans.

4:45 you must realize that there are many teachers and parents who are in opposition to this plan. Some who have spoken out and some who have not. And we have good reasons to be in opposition. I suggest you do some more research, talk to some parents who have older children, children with different academic ability levels than yours, parents and teachers who are at other schools. Inform yourself and then take a stab at defending this plan. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

6:28, you do make a good point.

Sort of like how Mr. Turek replied when directly called a liar in the last BOE meeting.

What did he say again? Oh yeah. He had no response, unless a smirk counts.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be great to hear 4:45's perspective.

Are you 11:03 from last week, 4:45?

Anonymous said...

Check out McCurry's LinkedIn page. It lists her work at D181 as her occupation. Sorry, you can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...

Ms McCurry IS definately a paid employee of the district. No doubt about that!

Anonymous said...

I am not a big fan of district employees being on the school board, but voters can make up their minds on that issue.

It bothers me that apparently local businesses that advertise in the local paper and their spouses are excluded from serving on an elected board.

Realtors know the area very well and have a strong interest in good schools. They all advertise in the Hinsdalean. It seems they or one of their spouses might make a good elected official.

Dentists, Orthodontists, plastic surgeons, car dealers, restaurants, the Fullers empire, even Bob the Handyman all advertise in the Hinsdalean. So are they and their spouses precluded from running for a local office????

I don't always agree with the Hinsdalean and frequently most voters don't either. But we live in a democracy and they can write what they want. I agree it appears they made a mistake on this one. They have dozens if not a hundred ads each week. To say that none of those advertisers can be objectively evaluated by their staff is silly.

I agree that both our school boards need the best, brightest, and fairest minds out there. I agree with much of what is posted here, but we need to be more careful when we are slinging mud on everyone and everything.

HMS Parent said...

2:06: I don't think anyone has suggested that "local businesses that advertise in the local paper and their spouses are excluded from serving on an elected board." What is being suggested is that a person who works for D181 in the Dept. of Curriculum has a conflict of interest in running for the BOE. What is being suggested is that the press needs to stay neutral and not show any bias towards D181 employees/spouses of its advertisers. Further, let's not compare dentists, doctors, etc. who advertise in local papers to the realtors who do so. No one moves to D181 because of a dentist or doctor. Come on! People move here because of the schools AND the houses/high property values. The local realtors bread and butter is based on how many homes they sell and this requires a good perception of the community by potential buyers. The local papers do their best to paint D181 communities, especially Hinsdale as Mayberry. The perfect bubble to raise your kids in. Let's not kid anyone that this isn't true. All you have to do to confirm this is attend some D181 BOE meetings and then compare the stories the Hinsdalean writes to the facts and concerns raised during the meetings. Very rarely -- it takes a massive crowd attending a meeting -- do they not put a positive spin on what goes down during the meetings. Don't be naive about the slant local independent papers put on their stories, commentaries and editorials.

Anonymous said...

2:56, we are in agreement that there is a potential conflict of interest with a district employee being on the school board and the voters can weigh in on that on election day.

Several posters have said that the Hinsdalean cannot fairly vet candidates that are spouses of advertisers. That is why I asked about spoues of dentists, car dealers, etc. that may also be large advertisers. I am not grasping why an advertiser who is a Realtor would be treated any differently than an advertiser that owns a restaurant.

You seem to be saying that Realtors and their spouses are not fit to serve on school boards. I am failing to grasp your tortured logic. We ALL want good schools and high property values. When did that become a crime?

The voters can decide the merits of Mrs. McCurry's candicacy based on her bio, comments at candidate forums, etc.

It should have nothing to do with what her spouse does for a living.

Anonymous said...

Dr. White and Dr. Schneider's understanding of district 181 expectations.

One thing that I am wondering about is whether the disconnect between the administration and the parents, especially where math is concerned relates to parental expectations. It is my impression that when d181 parents say that they want their children of all ability levels to be the best they can be, that the average d181 parent would define success at this at a higher level than it would be defined at almost any other district.

Furthermore, I believe that d181 parents would on average, put a greater emphasis on the importance of math as a key component of a good education than parents in almost any other district would. I have the impression that they do not fully comprehend the level of expectations here.

Most d181 students will end up at Central where this year, there are about 30 national merit scholars, about 50 national AP scholars, with maybe 15 seniors headed off the the Ivy League, countless more headed to top 50, top 100 and top 200 colleges, and the average ACT score is 27.

I just have the impression that they do not fully comprehend the expectations that the community has for them.

I have the impression that they think this district is like other districts, but it isn't. The high school that the d181 students are preparing for is one of the most demanding in the nation. I do not get the impression that these gentlemen have their head around that.