Comments of the Day: What Our Readers Want Voters to Consider before April 7th
We will be posting our endorsements for the D181 BOE election on Thursday, March 26. Unlike the Hinsdalean's endorsements that were picked in large part by an editor who doesn't even reside in D181, our picks will name the candidates that we will personally be voting for. Our votes will count and we will vote for the candidates that we believe will best serve all D181 students and taxpayers. Until Thursday, we will be highlighting comments written by our readers discussing what voters should consider before voting.
Comments of the Day:
On the D181 election, I cannot support Amy McCurry's candidacy. While many in the community like Ms. McCurry, this is not a popularity contest and it is important to vote for the candidates that are ready to serve and have a working understanding of the district's finances or a true financial background. Ms. McCurry does not.In the information she gave the Hinsdalean on what she thought of the last tax levy, rather than answer that question in a substantive way, she said that she "looks forward to learning more about the tax levy process and all the factors that go into calculating a levy request." It is disappointing that she hasn't schooled herself up on how a BOE sets a tax levy, the most important task our elected officials are responsible for. With all of the upcoming financial issues that the district is facing, I and other taxpayers shouldn't have to wait for a newly elected official to learn the tax levy process before they can start making decisions. In the next year the BOE will not only negotiate a new teacher's contract, it will have to analyze the financials on an HMS referendum (whether it be for a new, renovated or expanded school). It will have to face the possibility of losing millions if Senate Bill 1 is passed placing the financial burden of funding teacher pensions on local districts. It will have to decide whether to potentially grow the budget or make cuts to existing line items to free up to $2 million needed to pay for "coaches" for each school to teach our teachers how to teach the integrated, social justice model Dr. Schneider is ramming through in the Learning for All Plan. Despite Ms. Lannon's recent glib statement in an editorial in the Hinsdalean, running a $50,000+ school budget is not the same as using a "common sense approach" in "balancing a family budget." That statement was "sophomoric" to borrow a phrase used by another commentor on this blog. No doubt, after interviewing Ms. McCurry, this statement was inserted in the editorial that ran the week before the Hinsdalean's endorsements, setting up the safety net to protect Ms. McCurry's financial weaknesses.I have to agree with 10:03. I also agree with 4:54. But how do we know that having just one math coach per school will make any difference? There are still 22-25 kids per class with one teacher. How can one teacher meet the needs of all of these students from below grade level to accelerated and gifted? How many classrooms are in a school? How is one math coach going to make a difference? Schneider's and Benaitis's saying All Hands On Deck, well that's what these classrooms are going to need my friends. More hands! That $2 million dollars for math coaches is just a drop in the bucket compared to what it would really cost. Teachers will need help and to put in a program without the resources to help them is not fair to the teachers or to the students. And frankly the administration doesn't know what they'll need. None of them have any expertise in doing what they're doing.
It comes down to the community deciding do they want their taxes to pay for a learning plan that has already produced failing results for the current 5th graders or not? I'm all for supporting teachers and our children but not on a plan that has already produced failing results. I think it's somewhat fair to say (unless you have been fully engaged) that if you don't have a current 5th grader (the parent of a student in the experimental class) then you really don't know what's going on.
It's very important that parents vote in this election but understand what you're voting for. The integrated system will increase your taxes. Schneider and Benaitis have stated that they need all hands on deck. Teachers will need support. But let's be clear, this learning plan has not had good results with current 5th graders. You have to know what this plan means for your children. Know that it is one classroom and one teacher for students in grades K-5. Know that tiers will be removed out of middle school with grade compacting in math, and only ELA and ACE Social Studies for all students. And if you don't know what that means, you need to call the middle school. Reach out to a 5th grade parent and ask them what compacting means. And if you have students that are already double accelerated in math, you need to understand what an integrated classroom means in that situation.
Look at the Learning For All document. Go look at the goals. And parents need to understand that this administration doesn't look at data. They have not made one data driven decision in 3 years. They just do what they want. So don't be fooled by little * saying we'll look at data and talk to the teachers. They don’t care what the teachers say. Schneider may parade his little entourage of teachers in front of the BOE but those teachers are not representative of the entire population. And Schneider knows it!!
Make sure you understand who you are voting for on April 7th. I’m voting for Burns Giltner Gray and Czerwiec.
Did Ms. Lannom really make that statement comparing the school district budget to a family budget? I don't read The Hinsdalean so I didn't see it.
If so, that says volumes. I'm sure she thought that Mr. Giltner and Ms. Burns have strong financial backgrounds and so perhaps Ms. McCurry could lean on them but, in our community, we have a plethora of experienced candidates who are ready to serve on election day. D181 is not starter district for teachers, administrators nor BOE members.
The elementary classes that are currently inclusive are only consistently meeting the needs of the middle group and even those less than the former ability grouped system. The new math materials were selected, in large part, for how well they could be used in an inclusive classroom. The Madison parents spoke out against Investigations but what many don't realize is that part of what they didn't like was inclusive classrooms and less time with a teacher for their students. What they don't realize is that that is what is coming for them next year with Math In Focus. Better materials, maybe, but same delivery. I don't believe the DOL when they say that they will let teachers ability group with tiers using above grade level materials. That goes against everything Learning For All has been about since day 1. And, if that was the case, why didn't they use that delivery method with the pilot classes? Pilot classes were also limited to primarily use of grade level materials with the ability to "pull from" above or below.
Talk about haphazard and inconsistent. Every school/class/grade will be doing something different. Who will be keeping track of it all? How will we standardize and assess student growth and learning. And, the most important question of all, why are we doing it and what data supports it? The next question being, how can our district possibly support such a system financially and what else will we have to cut to make it happen? An improved Science curriculum, full day kindergarten, an improved foreign language program? And, again, WHY are we doing it? Inflexibility and poor identification issues were easily - and very inexpensively resolved. What a huge waste of resources this has been. Oh well, it's just money, the people in D181 have plenty to spare I guess... Vote Gray, Giltner and Burns.
For those people tempted to vote for only three candidates. That is basically a vote for Mr. Turek. If you do not want him back, vote Gray, Gilter, Burns, and Czerwiec!
Thanks for posting the first comment (I wrote it). Just to clarify, I meant that D181 has a $50 million budget, not $50,000.
I am a prospect parent. We have a huge problem with large class sizes at our school. I am really upset about the wide range of class sizes in the different schools. Some classes have really small sizes, and others are too large.
When I watched the second debate Leslie Gray said she posted a class size petition on this blog last year. I have been looking through old posts and I cannot find it. Bloggers: do you know where it is?
Class size will be a significant issue in the case of an inclusive or integrated model. Larger classes will be at a significant disadvantage and will require more support in order to be remotely successful for students at all ability levels. I am not aware of any guidelines or data that has been presented by the DOL to show definitely what sort of support system will be needed on a per student basis or how the resources (coaches, etc...) will be allocated.
Another initiative that Ms Gray was involved in was changing the allocation of the differentiation specialists from only 1 per school to what is now more than one for our larger schools. I think it is important to remember that that movement was completely parent driven. While the equity of the DS situation is apparent to everyone after the fact, it never would have happened if parents at Monroe hadn't advocated for it.
Here is the link to the post we published in October 2013 with the Petition Ms. Gray started:
Bloggers I was unable to access the link you shared. Could you please double check it?
1:16 p.m.: We cannot post a live link in the comments. You will need to cut and paste the following link into your search engine and then it will open the post. Sorry for the inconvenience.
I was able to cut and paste it this time. For some reason the first time I received an error message. Thanks bloggers from Prospect parents!
I heard that there are rumors going around about administrators saying that their cars have been tampered with. Is this actually true? Having been in the district for a number of years this is the first time I am hearing of any such event and it concerns me that no one knows if it's true but is willing to propagate a rumor when some parents are blamed for not having their facts straight. Maybe the police would have reports of any such incidents since it would be negligent to spread such rumors and not make sure they are actually addressed if indeed there is damage. What is surprising is that the D86 community which is larger, is up in arms but there are no such events occurring there because no one would be so dumb as to take the law in their hands. However this is something some parents feel has happened in a district like ours where parents have not made meetings disruptive even at the height of agitation with the HMS school closing. Has anyone heard these rumors and do you believe anyone in our community would actually take it upon themselves to do something like this? I know there are some very negative comments on this blog but it is one thing to say something anonymously versus actually cause physical damage to a person or their property. I don't believe our community would do this.
A friend of mine told me today that she'd heard the following "rumor" that has possibly been discussed at a recent PTO president's meeting: That I, Yvonne Mayer, and my friends, put sugar into Sean Walsh's gas tank, and that is why he resigned. Another rumor that was being spread last year, apparently by Kurt Schneider (and I heard this one from two D181 staff members who heard him say it) was that "parents" had vandalized Dr Schuster's car. I don't know ifthese administrators' cars were actually vandalized, but I can say the following:
1. I did not do it. Nor did any of my friends.
2. I cannot believe that any parent would vandalize any D181 employee's car.
3. I cannot believe that anyone would make up such rumors, but if they did, it is disgraceful.
4. I cannot believe that anyone would spread such rumors, but if they did, they should be ashamed.
I have called both Sean Walsh and Dr. White to discuss the latest rumor, since it specifically involves me. So far, neither of them have returned my calls.
The administration needs to stop spreading rumors about parents. There has been too much of this lately! Dr White get control of your staff.
Well if any of the PTO presidents are propagating such rumors it is disappointing. People need to see some evidence before believing such rumors since it is quite a serious charge punishable by the law. People accuse one set of parents for writing negative anonymous comments but then turn around and spread even more vicious rumors verbally. I hope the D181 staff know better than to believe what Dr. Schuster claimed.
I have now spoken personally with Mr. Walsh and he assured me that his car has NEVER been vandalized. Dr White also agreed to investigate the source of the rumors. Hopefully, everyone will stop spreading these malicious rumors about me and my friends. If anyone still thinks they are true, I suggest you call Mr. Walsh.
Ms. Mayer: It is unfortunate that anyone would start such a rumor. You deserve better than that after all of your service to the community.
This is all really unfortunate unpleasantness that detracts from the important and serious issues at hand. My caucus sign was stolen last week and heard that there were others taken, as well. Has anyone else had that happen to them?
Yes, my caucus sign was stolen as well. Friends of mine had their caucus signs stolen too. Those signs are expensive and its trespassing. Disappointing. Ok, what's up with the new purple signs? This is the strangest election I have ever seen!!
This is quite concerning. People should not spread rumors without any substance. I have a hard time believing anything Dr. Schuster may have said. If you attended any meetings when she was here, the lies and spin that were dished out would lead you to question any reports of vandalism from her. She wasted our tax money but we can't blame her if elected community members didn't hold her accountable.
It is not only the caucus yard signs that are being stolen. Caucus signs that had Mr. Turek's name crossed off were taken. Someone has also taken Mr. Czerwiec's signs off of private property. Who is behind these thefts? Because that is what they are. If you have a sign on your private property, that is not in the parkway owned by the town you live in, it is illegal for anyone to remove your sign. You should file a police report if this happens to you.
2:27: The purple and white signs were ordered by a group of parents to show who they are supporting in the D181 BOE election: 1,2,3,5 -- Burns, Giltner, Gray and Czerwiec. These parents do not support Turek and did not want to be accused of defacing the Caucus signs by removing his name. These parents will cast their fourth vote for Mr. Czerwiec. These parents believe these 4 candidates are the most informed and ready to serve on the D181 BOE, do not have any conflicts of interest and will be fiscally responsible.
Some purple signs were stolen last night.
Way to go Purple Sign Parents! We are glad to see that you are exerting your First Amendment Freedom of Speech Rights and have on your own chosen 4 INDIVIDUALS to support, rather than simply fall in line with the Hinsdale Caucus or Hinsdalean's endorsements.
4:08 who reported stolen purple signs stolen -- ARE YOU KIDDING US? Didn't the purple signs start showing up on people's lawn's just yesterday? And some have already been stolen? Hmmh? Who could have stolen them? Whose names are NOT on the signs? Could those individuals' supporters, or perhaps angry caucus supporters who are annoyed that Turek didn't make the cut, be the culprits? Bad, bad, bad! Of course we will never know, will we, because no one is going to admit stealing a sign. Such juvenile conduct should not be condoned by any of the candidates. They should all get the word out to their volunteers and supporters to STOP STEALING SIGNS of private property. Such acts of desperation wouldn't be necessary if each candidate was confident in his/her candidacy and believes he/she has the necessary number of votes to win. COME ON SIGN STEALERS! GROW UP!
What is going on with the Caucus this year? There are barely any caucus signs.
8:06: I don't think the Caucus had a lot of money this year. In addition to the few signs you see around town, they have only put a few ads in local papers, but nothing else. No mailers as people in D86 have been getting from the two different slates. I live in Clarendon Hills and a couple weeks ago I found individual flyers for two caucus endorsed candidates, Jennifer Burns and Leslie Gray, hanging on my front door knob. I was at the Clarendon Hills debate and some, not all, of the caucus candidates set up campaign literature and palm cards for voters to take. Looked again like they were created by the individual candidates, not the caucus, and that each caucus candidate had to promote themselves without caucus help this time around. I saw materials for all candidates except for Turek. Guess he thinks he's a shoo in and doesn't have to make any extra effort. Seems to me like he thinks he can ride the wave of being a Caucus endorsed candidate with "continuity" to the finish line. I really hope the voters aren't dumb enough to just "give Turek the win" without thinking about who they are really voting for and what it will really mean for our children..
Why do we even need a caucus anymore? I heard that their bylaws required the D181 committee to have 14 members, two from each of schools, yet they had fewer than that. If the caucus can't even attract 14 community members to serve on the school committee in a district of nearly 4000 students, then it's a clear sign that not enough people care or are interested in what the "almighty" caucus has to say. D86 used to have a caucus, but doesn't anymore and voters are perfectly capable of vetting the candidates for themselves. The caucus' "gold star" of approval doesn't mean anything anymore. Everyone needs to critically analyze what each candidate brings to the party and vote for the ones that will serve all of our children's educational needs, while being fiscally responsible. This isn't a popularity contest where being "nice" is enough.
On April 7th vote 1,2,3 and 5 -- Burns, Giltner, Gray and Czerwiec!
Let's not forget that the d86 folks had 48k to work with
I agree about the caucus process being faulty and watched the debate video to make up my own mind. I do think that Burns, Gray and Giltner are good endorsements. I also thought Czerwiec was very knowledgeable and could be someone who would work well with the three caucus endorsed candidates. They seemed more open minded unlike Marty Turek who seemed to act like he knew more by rattling off a laundry list of accomplishments. He seemed to be selling a plan or the administration instead of trying to look like someone who heard what his fellow candidates were saying. How is it possible that 4 independent candidates think the learning for all plan is not working? At least two of these 4 will be on the new board. These people matter since they obviously represent many other parents and community members. Marty Turek is obviously biased and will never change. With respect to the signs, the caucus should be making sure all signs have been placed. They do need to examine their process and follow their by-laws. What is the point of having by-laws otherwise?
The caucus has a new batch of signs. I urge you to contact a candidate or caucus member if you would like one.
Ok, here is my take on the caucus signs.
It seems like some parts of town where certain candidates live have a ton of signs. Other parts of town where other candidates live have very few signs.
I live in Clarendon Hills and see very very very few caucus signs.
Marty Turek does not belong on a school board. These are challenging times for education, we need people who are willing to have candid discussions and not those who shut down meaningful conversations and don't want to dive into the topics. They should be listening to all parents and not just looking out for the administration. I hope people will make the right choice.
The Skoda and company are putting out more lies and deception. Claiming that teacher's salaries are over $100,000 per year, and that they declined to settle for 5% annual raises.
I got a call today claimed to be conducting a survey related to the upcoming BOE election.
He asked whether I was aware that text teachers in district 86 we going to go on strike in spite of the fact that the teachers average salary is over $100,000 per year and that they were going to strike in spite of the fact that they were offered annual raises of 5% I said I did not know that.
He asked whether that bothered me and whether I thought the should be made to work and not strike. I said that I did not think you could force anyone to work if they don't want to.
Then he didn't want to ask any more questions. Ugh
Check out all the letters supporting Burns and Gray in today's Hinsdalean and Patch. They are awesome!
I was also impressed by Mr. Czerwiec's letter in the Hinsdalean. He seems the most knowledgeable among the candidates from the debate and has been very respectful. Parcc has been a waste of time and money.
Asking for accountability is a good thing. We even hold the president of the United States accountable, surely we should be able to hold all elected officials including the board president and superintendent accountable.
Wonderful news about Burns, Gray, and Giltner. I would like to draw people's attention to John Czerwiec, though, so that folks can make good use of their 4th vote. Its important to cast that 4th vote because if you don't, the other candidates will be given an opportunity to go unchallenged. Why allow less qualified candidates to gain votes when there are 4 open spots for the board, not only 3? If you don't vote for 4, you are giving away your power to make a positive change in our district.
Czerwiec is an impressive candidate. I saw his ad in the Hinsdalean and looked up his website. For those of you who don't read the Hinsdalean, the website is WWW.RESTORE181.COM. It is too bad that he didn't throw his hat in the ring earlier because I am sure the caucus would have endorsed him along with Burns, Giltner and Gray. He has the education, experience, and open mindedness to best serve all residents. The idea of restoring our district to a place of distinction and excellence with Science, Technology, Arts, and Mathematics, his ideas for improving the curriculum, and his strategic, balanced approach to long term finance issues have convinced me to place my first vote for #5, John Czerwiec.
Article in previous comment:
"Sarah Blaine is a mother, former teacher and full-time practicing attorney in New Jersey who became a public education activist after watching what was happening in her daughter’s school during the controversial implementation of the Common Core State Standards and aligned standardized testing. In the following piece she challenges members of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s task force on PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, one of the two multi-state consortia designing new Common Core standardized tests with $360 million in federal funds) to take a Common Core test and see if it seems like an appropriate task for children. This post first appeared on her Parenting the Core blog. Blaine, who gave me permission to republish this letter, has written several popular posts, including “Pearson’s wrong answer–and why it matters in the high-stakes testing era” and “You think you know what teachers do. Right? Wrong.”
So this is my request to this task force. Don’t issue a report or make recommendations until you sit down — publicly so that we know that you did it — and actually try taking these sample tests. That is, to maintain any credibility at all, the task force must host — and participate in — Take the PARCC events across the state.
After that, you can move on to the other issues. After that, you can make recommendations.
After that, you can look at how often Pearson makes mistakes in its textbooks, and whether it’s reasonable to trust a company that makes such mistakes to design high-stakes tests that will eventually determine our students’ class placement and/or college graduation.
After that, you can look why it is categorically unfair — not to mention demoralizing — to have teachers’ performance reviews dependent on the outcomes of these tests.
After that, you can look at whether these tests improve children’s educational outcomes.
After that, you can look at whether high-stakes nature of these tests encourages widespread cheating.
After that, you can look at whether failures on these tests contributes to destabilizing schools and communities that serve our most challenged children.
After that, you can look at whether the high-stakes testing culture discourages highly qualified teachers from entering (or, as I can tell you in my case, from returning to) the teaching profession.
After that, you can look at what portions of our high local property taxes and precious school budgets are now paid to the for-profit industry that has sprung up around these tests.
After that, you can look at whether these tests are doing more harm than good.
After that, you can look at whether these tests are forcing schools to narrow the curriculum, as the requirement to devote school hours and resources to teaching to these tests means that those school hours and resources are not being used for other, more precious, lessons.
After that, you can look at whether these tests are stamping out our children’s imaginations even earlier than we lost the abilities to easily access our own imaginations.
After that, you can look at whether Acting Commissioner David Hespe of the New Jersey Department of Education should be instructed to revise his PARCC “opt-out” guidance to ensure that the child of any parent who conscientiously objects to his or her child serving as a guinea pig for these tests will be provided with an alternate education experience during testing.
After that, you can look at whether — assuming we agree that this is the purpose of public school, which we don’t — student performance on these tests will tell teachers, parents, and members of the community anything whatsoever about whether these 9 and 10 year olds are on-track for college and careers.
But first — first — you need to take the tests."
We need to stop living in a bubble and need to encourage open discussions of these very important issues.
Maybe the practice of yard signs should be discontinued in the future. Apparently some 181 caucus signs and the new purple signs are being taken. I know people who have red 86 signs and others with blue 86 signs, some of both have been stolen. Maybe they do more harm than good. How do neighbors feel when they have different signs? I live in Clarendon Hills and with our very contested village board race there is a plethora of signs. Sadly I think some friendship have been challenged because of yard sign disagreements. Our vote is private for a reason.
Also if you are interested in teachers salaries in 181 and 86 you can go to familytaxpayers.org. It hasn't been updated since 2012 but it gives you the general idea.
While votes are private, the fact is the consequences of who is ultimately elected are a reflection of the whole community. I have spent the better part of my adult life trying to get more people to realize: Local Elections are Important!
It is absolutely worth enduring a little forest of yard signs / discord to see which neighbors support the best qualified candidates. Especially in the high school and municipal election there are huge differences in the values that certain candidates have emphasized. Anyone taken in by the deception of those aligned with C4CH or the current D86 majority are willfully ignoring the more measured tone and broad support of folks that see how toxic these radical ideologues have made the whole environment for the high school BOE or municipal operations.
There are alternatives -- I like the sorts of interaction that are possible with social media platforms like Facebook -- over the course of this election I have posted DOZENS of articles and links that help spell out both my specific stance on issues facing our district as well as a general philosophy of what schools need to emphasize. The statistics from the Facebook show that I have reached well over ten thousand Facebook users (the vast majority inside the area served by the district) through those posts and I am proud to say that, as of today, I have had to "hide" exactly NO feedback (and would only do so if any feedback were to be vulgar or otherwise inappropriate).
Sadly when I commented on the page of one of the other candidates, using my own name and simply laying out factual information, who ever runs their page choose to hide my comments and block me from further comments. Mind you, this was not done in response to some masked identity nor inflammatory outburst but merely because I pointed out that some of the folks that are departing the current BOE still seem, four years into their term, less than fully up to speed on the proper balance between appropriate oversight and advocacy.
It saddens me to even have to point this out about one of my neighbors in Clarendon Hills, but I feel that if folks do decide to vote for a person that feels the need to suppress the honest exchange of ideas the direction of the district will only become less open.
I have personally told the publisher of The Hinsdalean, as well as the publisher of the Clarendon Courier, that if they truly did a top-notch job covering D181 school board meetings, and following up on concerns of dedicated parents / community members, that there would be no one bothering with the kinds of online forums that encourage anonymous posts. I know that it might strain their ability to really cover the meetings to the degree that is necessary but given the range of challenges that will soon be upon the shoulders of the newly organized BOE they should devote resources to this important matter sooner rather than later...
John J. Czerwiec
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