Monday, March 16, 2015

Common Core is The Floor: Only A Turncoat Would Believe Otherwise

(Source:  Wikipedia.)

Benedict Arnold (January 14, 1741 [O.S. January 3, 1740][1][2] – June 14, 1801) was a general during the American Revolutionary War who originally fought for the American Continental Army but defected to the British Army. 

noun: turncoat; plural noun: turncoats 
1. a person who deserts one party or cause in order to join an opposing one. 
synonyms: traitor, renegade, defector, deserter, betrayer;
(Source:  Wikipedia.)

As we indicated last week, our original plan after the 3/9/15 BOE meeting was to post about that meeting, however, in light of the "fast moving train of events" last week, we have moved on.  We encourage our readers to listen to the podcast of the meeting, which in our opinion, was just more of the same obfuscation of legitimate parent concerns.

Instead, as we began receiving comments related to inclusive practices and ability grouping in other districts, we thought we would share some sources that were not highlighted in the Learning for All (Some) presentations (3) that were given during recent BOE meetings.

After all, we actually heard Superintendent Don White state at the last meeting that the downward trend in district MAP scores is due to ability grouping. Huh? This statement actually came from the previous superintendent of Troy 30-C, located in the cornfields of Plainfield? Troy 30-C: Isn’t this the same district that has a magnet (tracking) program for gifted, high ability, advanced learners, etc) (see: 10/2914 Post).  Didn’t Don White oversee ability grouping on ‘roids because of the magnet track and tiers within classrooms throughout Troy? This is the same D181 Don White who jumped on the fully inclusive-one-size-fits-all-social-justice-mamma-jamma-now-called-integrated-services-classroom and is about to move into some shiny new office digs in Clarendon Hills while telling teachers and staff at HMS to use their overcrowded facility for collaboration purposes even though many teachers lack a fixed desk and assigned classroom?*

Whew! But hold the phone! Say it ain’t so.

But it is.

Yes, dear readers. Make no mistake; any educator, who just eight months ago believed in ability grouping, acceleration and tiered instruction and now believes in the opposite approach for our district is a turncoat, plain and simple. What was good enough in Troy 30C, was the model we had in place here in D181 before the Advanced Learning/Learning For All (Some) plans were rolled out.  D181 had ability groups combined with acceleration for students who needed the extra challenges. In our opinion, the Department of Learning's actions over the last three years have been to eliminate those challenges and the administration has yet to provide the BOE, parents or community with performance data showing any improvements or success in student performance. And if you haven’t yet listened to the podcast of the BOE meeting on 3/9/15, you will want to do so if only to hear the justification for the low district MAP scores.

In fact, in a previous BOE meeting, Don White and the Department of Learning stated that the Common Core would be rigorous enough and no additional acceleration is necessary, until our kids get to middle school where the plan is to eliminate the standard, grade level math tier. Yes, folks: we have administrators making significant changes without sufficient data analysis to determine if their changes that have been in place for nearly 3 years and that are continuing to roll forward are working. Hint: we know they’re not.  What's worse, the Department of Learning hasn't presented the BOE with any substantive information on how students who have opted into ACE social studies -- which will soon be the norm for all D181's middle schoolers -- are doing.  Have those teachers had to water down the "once gifted" curriculum?  Are opt in students struggling to keep up or have they been successful. Nothing was included about this in the Seminal Document.

Since the BOE majority has not demanded accountability from the Department of Learning, they feel empowered to plow ahead with their Learning for All experiment while touting their integrated services model that will magically reach every one of those 25+ students day in and day out. Yeah, right.

We would be remiss in our civic duties if we didn’t direct our readers to the following sites for in-depth articles related to common core, gifted programming, and ability grouping. Memo to Don White: you should get your nose in a book or two from VanTassel-Baska to school yourself up again on the ability grouping practices you just supported eight short months ago but have promoted eliminating here. And while you’re at it, take a look at the article related to Common Core and how it is a FLOOR for all students – it does not contain challenge for gifted/high ability students. The Common Core is just a bunch of standards; nothing more, nothing less. Giving it greater credibility in a district like D181 can be likened to our historical reference, Benedict Arnold, who could never shed his  reputation as a turncoat because his actions hurt the innocent around him for which he was responsible. Hmmmm, sound familiar?

The first article focuses on the Common Core and how districts are attempting to implement its constraints. You can read part of the article here:

"Will Gifted Education Weather the Common Core? 
  By Dian Schaffhauser 

According to a study by the Fordham Institute, education reform "gadfly," some districts and states believe that the Common Core gives them a reason to "ditch" services for gifted students, equating the standards with advanced education. 

"The Common Core was really meant to be a floor and not a ceiling," said Jonathan Plucker, a professor of education at the University of Connecticut and an expert in gifted education, who wrote the Fordham paper examining the situation for high-achieving students. 

According to his findings, the existence of the learning standards is being used "in some places" to justify reducing or scrapping gifted education services "on grounds that the new universal standards are more challenging than what came before them." 

Plucker's report cites several specific scenarios, such as a Mississippi district school board president who told a local paper that the Common Core would cost close to a million dollars to implement, and that's where funding would have to go -- forcing the closure of gifted classes starting in the 2014-2015 school year. An Illinois district eliminated gifted education programming by pointing to the rigorous standards of the Common Core. 

After a talk in November at a conference, Plucker noted, "We were overwhelmed by the number of teachers who came up afterward and said, 'We're having this exact same discussion in my school. We're getting rid of ability grouping, of AP classes....' That is worrisome, to say the least." 
As antidote, Plucker offered two recommendations, both intended to "emphasize the importance of advanced achievement" in school policies and actions. 

First, he said, "We have to get better at instructional and curricular differentiation." Noting that differentiation is a topic that's been around for "30 years," teachers need more extensive professional development specifically "devoted to curricular and instructional differentiation by ability level." They also need time to "plan together" in order to meet the needs of their high-ability learners. 
Second, state and local education leaders need to eliminate policies that limit the learning done by advanced students. As an example, Plucker referenced policies that prevent advanced students who have moved into college early from receiving a high school diploma if they haven't earned the appropriate number of high school credits; or rules that tie kindergarten entrance strictly to age rather than readiness. 

Such policies, he said, are there "for the right reasons" but have "unintended consequences" of "not allowing students to move through schools at their own pace." 

"American education is in the midst of a generations-long transition from age-based and one-size-fits-all education to highly individualized and differentiated learning—an approach that addresses students' unique needs and development," Plucker concluded. By tapping their expertise in delivering differentiated instruction, "Educators of high-ability students have an important role to play in ensuring this journey is successful." "

Ah, yes. Common Core is the floor. We should all be asking how the Department of Learning is meeting the needs of each learner. Are the advanced students still using the RtI Process for acquiring more challenging curriculum? (cough, cough) And we know we keep bringing this up, but how exactly are the needs of advanced students being progress monitored? Oh, and by the way, how is the Department of Learning identifying the kids in classrooms who are getting limited pull-out services? Is it a standardized process or is it subjective?

Inquiring minds want to know.

And since we are on the subject of ability grouping, we thought we would share an article by VanTassel-Baska herself:

Article excerpt from VanTassel-Baska (Source: ) 
"Title:  Educational decision making on acceleration and ability grouping
In response to social-political demands, education has embarked on a course of school reform that affects organizational and curricular structures for all students. Calls for higher achievement levels, increased capacity of students to think, and greater emphasis on accommodating to cultural and social diversity have led educational personnel to make at least surface changes in how schools are organized. These changes have been most notable in the areas of grouping and classroom strategies. 
How does gifted education fit into this scheme? One direction that gifted education has explored in the current climate of school reform is that of blending in with the movement for heterogeneous grouping and cooperative learning. One such example is the thrust toward redefining the role of teachers for the gifted as cooperative teachers in the regular classroom; they often demonstrate lessons and assist the regular classroom teacher in planning for gifted children (VanTassel-Baska, Landrum, & Peterson, in press). This blending strategy may be appeasing in the local context, but the overall impact of such diffused efforts on gifted education may well be detrimental. This strategy may detract from achieving what is basic to a quality gifted program, namely acceleration and ability grouping. These approaches are fundamental and must be attended to in some form in order to ensure that programs are meaningful for this special group of learners. A major thesis of this paper is, therefore, that acceleration and grouping are the lightning rod issues that test the level of acceptance that gifted programs enjoy in a local school district. The greater the commitment to serving gifted students, the greater the acceptance of advancing and grouping them appropriately. 

Acceleration and Grouping: Definitions and Controversy Educators and parents have a fallacious conception of what acceleration means. Too frequently it is perceived as an intervention visited upon children to speed up their program and drive them to graduate from various levels of schooling earlier. Acceleration should refer to the rapid rate of a child's cognitive development, not the educational intervention provided. What we provide in the name of acceleration is appropriate curriculum and services at a level commensurate with a gifted child's demonstrated readiness and need. Elkind (1988) has noted the importance of changing the term better to reflect the intent of this intervention practice (matching learners to appropriate curriculum), thereby avoiding the common connotation of speeding up a student's rate of progress. Unfortunately, many people deny the fundamental role of acceleration in a program for the gifted. In so doing, they are in effect denying who and what defines the gifted at any stage of development--children who exhibit advanced intellectual development in one or more areas. 

Ability grouping, on the other hand, should be defined as the organizational mechanism by which students at proximate ability levels within a school curriculum are put together for instruction. Ability grouping allows for individual and group needs to be addressed in a way that honors individual differences. Without grouping in some form, differentiated curriculum is difficult if not impossible to accomplish. Thus, to reject the practice of ability grouping is tantamount to denying the special instructional needs of gifted children. 

Both acceleration and grouping are integral components of a program designed to meet adequately the learning needs of gifted students. Ironically, in the current educational climate acceleration and grouping are being pitted against each other in absurd ways. Grouping of the gifted is under virulent attack, which has led some writers to stress acceleration (Slavin, 1990). It is considered the one acceptable strategy to use with the gifted. Yet we have little reason to believe that less grouping of the gifted will increase the likelihood of more accelerative opportunities (see Jones & Southern, 1992). Less grouping will more likely promote a unitary approach to program intervention that is predominantly classroom-based and dominated by grade-level outcomes. It might also produce, as Slavin (1986) hypothesized, a "Robin Hood" effect for heterogeneous grouping, wherein the gifted can serve others less fortunate in the learning process. The benefits gifted students accrue from such an approach are not clear. "

Oh, Don White should not run away from ability grouping now, a mere 10 months into his tenure. Take a look at this:

An article by Carol Tieso that focuses on ability grouping highlights the following:

"Research on Grouping Practices. 
Research on ability grouping has continued for almost a century. The earliest recorded study occurred in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1927 when researchers identified and pre-assessed 
two equivalent groups of elementary students (Kulik, 1992). Students in one group were separated by ability and placed into homogeneous classes while students in the other group were assigned to mixed-ability classes. Students were tested again at the end of the school year and those in the homogeneous group scored approximately two grade equivalents higher in mathematics than did similar-ability students in the heterogeneous class. With those results, the opening shot was fired in the century- long battle over the grouping of students for instruction."

(Source: Roeper Review Fall, 2003,

Ah, yes. And this article by Tieso is a doozy. Read it and you will see that it includes a discussion on effect sizes, not the analysis conducted by Hattie, as was highlighted the the Department of Learning during the last BOE meeting, but that of other researchers. Take a look because it is important to note that, as Board Member Heneghan (addressing the administration's selective use of Hattie's effect sizes) pointed out on 3/9, "research is used as a sword to get what you want and as a shield to prevent constructive discussion."   (Counter 1:47:44 of 3/9/15 Podcast)

Readers, we bring you these sources for informational purposes. Since the Department of Learning have decided to present a one-sided view on how our kids should be educated, we thought we would take it upon ourselves to identify some “best practices,” to use a term the Department of Learning uses frequently.

D181 is at a crossroads. And our kids are staring out trying to find the road ahead that will best prepare them for the rigors of high school. Have our administrators failed them by turning their backs and tethering themselves to a one-size-fits-all (some) learning format in classrooms across the district?

Our advice: turn your coat around and support researched plans that indeed tap into the needs of all district kids, not those who are dreamed up by a social justice-integrated self-proclaimed
'guru" who hasn’t taught in elementary or middle school classrooms.

Then maybe we can get back to basics and reverse the downtrends we have witnessed for several years.

* As one of the comments we received last week indicated, "Don White sent out an e-mail to teachers explaining that many middle schools have overcrowding issues and that the situation can be used as a time to improve "collaboration" among teachers.March 11, 2015 at 8:15 AM.


HMS Parent said...

Thank you Mr. Heneghan for once again pointing out the obvious at the last board meeting. You were completely right to accuse the administration of using research as a sword when it suits them, while also hiding behind it as a shield. Why is it that he (and Ms.Garg) are the only ones who consistently "see the naked emperor" for what he is? The D181 community will feel the loss of Mr. Heneghan since he is not seeking reelection. We wish he was. Our only hope now is to unseat Mr. Turek and elect board members who may actually demand accountability: Burns, Czerwiec, Giltner and Gray.

Anonymous said...

Here's the bottom line on the coaches. If you go back and listen to the BOE meetings where the Learning For All "plan" (Mr. Heneghan also routinely pointed out that it wasn't really a plan, more of a philosophy statement) was approved and discussed, the administration says repeatedly (and it is also in BoardDocs) that very little additional expenditure is needed for the plan to be successful. I remember many parents talking about how there was no way a plan of this magnitude could be executed with so few resources and so little money in the budget for teacher training. These parents were summarily dismissed because the Board and administration knew better. Wrong again!

Would even our current BOE majority have voted to approve this plan had they been told honestly that, in order for it to be successful, it required $2 million in coaches? And, would the community have remained quiet about the plan had they known about this significant cost? I doubt it and this is exactly the sort of question that they should be asking themselves now but won't.

And, are we really considering such an expenditure in light of all of the other /expenses initiatives going on with HMS, new administrative offices, etc...? Dr. White keeps saying that he needs a strategic plan in order to determine priorities and I agree. However, how do we know that this $2 million is the best use of this substantial amount of money? Has our data or success of other school districts shown us conclusively that this is the way we should be heading? Is the anecdotal evidence of a handful of teachers and principals enough to justify a $2 million expenditure? Or, would it be easier/cheaper to go back to the old tier concept and improve identification and flexibility? Seems like we could find better things to do with $2 million.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Dr. White is in over his head. Nice man, but not not the leader we need. I keep wondering how Schneider has fooled him...

Anonymous said...

7:02 PM You are exactly right.

The DOL seems to believe that they are too far down this road to admit that the facts and evidence do not support what they are doing.

With CC and the new texts, that actually should be better than the old ones, they should be able to improve the score of the middle of the one-size-fits-all class that they are teaching to and try to declare victory to the masses.

The losers will be the top and bottom 10%-20% of the class, since they are teaching to the middle 60%. The best students will be bored and unchallenged, and the bottom students will be confused.

I suspect that they will have the coaches focus on the bottom of the class, that would be the natural thing to do. The bottom will probably still struggle but be somewhat supported. That leaves the top 10-20% inadequately supported from the beginning, and falling in achievement relative to the top performers in prior classes.

More troublingly, the top students will probably not be prepared to succeed at Algebra II/Trig as freshmen when they are turned over to d86. Then everyone will feign surprise and pretend that they did not expect this, and wonder why this happened, when it was obvious from day 1. Everyone will point fingers at someone else and no one will take responsibility.

Focus needs to be given to metrics that specifically monitor the performance of the top and bottom 10 to 20% of the class to ensure that both groups are supported properly and that this does not continue to happen.

Mr. Turek admitted at the HMS debate that the top of the class is not currently being challenged adequately and said they would need to address it in 2 to 4 years.

I hope that d181 parents will vote to put a stop to this disaster, but I worry that Mr Turek may win because he has the caucus endorsement.

Please vote everyone!

Anonymous said...

It's a bigger number than the top/bottom 10-20% that will be negatively impacted by inclusive classrooms. Under the old tiered system, up to 50% of 3-5 graders were accelerated - depending on the composition of the grade. I believe the most common scenario was one of 3 sections grade level accelerated. The number of kids in each class varied from year to year with sometimes grade level being larger, sometimes above grade level. And then there were pullouts on top of that, if needed. Sometimes parents complained if the above grade level kids were pulled out but what they didn't understand was that, in effect, that reduced the class size for all.

And, if new math materials are so rigorous that above grade level kids are going to be really challenged, what about the grade level and below grade level kids? At what pace will the class move? How does it look in an inclusive class where such a large group will be struggling? How will a teacher spend his/her time? Oh, that's right, the advanced kids will "go deeper" until everyone else catches up. Then what happens to those students the next year?

Anonymous said...

One of the dumbest things that the DOL explained when approving inclusive classrooms was research that kids that are accelerated in math early perform worse in math later in school. It was part of the research by the Stanford professor that they were cherrypicking to fit their purpose.

Amazingly, no one asked for those numbers for our district where accelerated math students do not perform worse later, but remain advanced.

This whole L4A adventure has been a deadly cocktail of dishonesty mixed with a heavy dose of stupidity.

I agree that it will impact more than the top and bottom of the class, but the performance of those two groups needs to be monitored closely and compared to the performance level of prior classes.

Anonymous said...

7:02, can you point to something on Board Docs that supports the $2 million number for coaches. This concerned me so I tried to find a reference to it but haven't found it. The only thing I found was a $300,000 amount but that seemed to be a shift of resources rather than new expense. I am very curious about the $2 million quote. I would be very interested to see the details about that. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

11:12, the $2 million figure didn't come from Board Docs but from a discussion at the last BOE meeting during which Brendan Heneghan referred to what he believes the true cost of the proposal/sucessful implementation will actually end up being. I agree with him. I'm sorry but I don't remember the exact point in the podcast where I heard it, you'd have to go back and listen to that point in the discussion. Even if the total amount were just a $300,000 shift in resources, this number is significant and should be properly vetted and prioritized by the BOE, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

This is 11:12, thanks for the info. I will re-listen to the podcast. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

The $2 million is a conservative number in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Hinsdalean endorsements out: Burns, Turek, McCurry, and Giltner. No Gray or Czerwiec

Anonymous said...

I am extremely disappointed in the Hinsdalean. Leslie Gray, above all the other candidates, deserved its endorsement. She is the most qualified of the six candidates which was plainly obvious from both the Hinsdalean and Clarendon Courier's debates.

I believe they got it right by endorsing Jennifer Burns and Richard Giltner.

However, the Hinsdalean certainly showed that Mike McCurry's advertising dollars speak louder than strong qualifications by endorsing Amy McCurry who decided to run over a champagne dinner and couldn't answer a question at the debates without reading from a script.

Absolutely disgusted!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe Gray wasn't endorsed and McCurry was. Between the conflict of interest and lack of knowledge and depth that was apparent in both debates and in the impromptu questions asked by the Hinsdalean for publicaton, it is obvious that Ms McCurry is nowhere near qualified to hold this position. "I look forward to learning about the levy process" is just one glaring example." My guess is that The Hinsdalean didn't like the fact that Ms Gray went strongly on the record in opposition to some aspects of the Learning For All plan. In doing so, it missed an opportunity to endorse needed diversity on the Board about this plan. By endorsing Turek and McCurry, both huge supporters of the plan, we are left with only Giltner and Burns to hopefully bring an objective perspective about this plan if they win. Hopefully the community will see this error and necessity more clearly than The Hinsdalean did. Learning For All has been a colossal failure by almost all accounts. More of the same rubber stamping of this major initiative is not what we need at the BOE level. Objectivity and a strong command of facts and details is.

Anonymous said...

Well if there was any doubt of bias, it is all clear now. Of course the Hinsdalean can give their opinion (they own it) which they really shouldn't be. I agree with Mr. Ellis of the CH courier, it's not their job. Having attended the hinsdalean debate I can say hands down, Mr. Czerwiec was the most articulate and knowledgeable candidate. He won the debate as far as I would tell and no I do not know Mr. Czerwiec. What was also clear was that Ms. Mccurry had no knowledge of the tax levy and district budgeting process. SO for her to be endorsed over someone who clearly understands the issues is mind boggling. Is it better to have someone who understands school finances, the levy and who by the way was a classroom teacher or someone who supports a plan that has worked well for her kids and was a special ed teacher (deals with a smaller number of students)? Aren't we all lifelong learners? Why is it that it is implied that educators are the only lifelong learners? We are all constantly having to learn new things at the workplace. I would like them to see the rigorous board exams and license exams various professionals have to take to remain certified. I also felt that Mr. Turek lacked knowledge of the tax levy and has shown no evidence of holding anyone accountable including himself.

A British Tar said...

I'm just curious why the Hinsdale had a picture (and name) of Planson instead of Gray. Plans is running for the 86 board, not 181. Was this intentional, or just a mistake, like that one D86 news article on Facebook that accidentally had the axe through a windshield?

Yvonne Mayer, Current Taxpayer, Former D181 Parent and Board Member said...

I am speechless. This is Yvonne Mayer, and I am once again posting using my name. I woke up this morning and checked my front entrance to see if the Hinsdalean had delivered their newspaper to Burr Ridge residents. They had not. Yesterday, the posted on their Facebook Page that today's run would be their largest circulation ever and that they were delivering to all homes in Clarendon Hills, not just Hinsdale. I posted a comment asking them to also deliver to all D181 homes in Burr Ridge and Willowbrook, but they never posted a response. I guess they don't care enough about all of the D181 residents, just those in Hinsdale (as they should since it is, after all, called The Hinsdalean) and now the residents in Clarendon Hills. So I ponder the following questions:
1. Why just add Clarendon Hills to their free distribution list?
2. Could it be because they are endorsing two candidates who live in Clarendon Hills?
3. How many homes are in Clarendon Hills -- a couple thousand?
4. Why would a Hinsdale based paper, deliver for FREE, a paper to Clarendon HIlls? It obviously isn't FREE for the paper to run hard copies for all of these homes?
5. Why would the Hinsdalean take money out of their profit margin to run hard copies for all of the Clarendon Hills residents?
6. Could it possibly be that someone is funding these extra copies, and if so, who is?
7. If the Hinsdalean is paying for these extra copies, why are they not running copies for all of D181's residents? Could it be that they have been pressured in some way by some of their advertisers to deliver copies this week to Clarendon HIlls? If so, who are these advertisers (or advertiser)?

Many questions to ponder. Of course, no answers will be given.

As for the Hinsdalean's endorsement of Turek, I am completely disgusted. Consistency? Good leadership in the last two years? Praising him for the teacher's contract? So disappointing that the Hinsdalean has overlooked the fact that Turek didn't lead the negotiations. Vorobiev and Clarin did. He just voted. So disappointing that the Hinsdalean overlooked the list by the bloggers of 22 reasons, all based in fact and actions/statements made by Turek, that show clearly that he has not been an effective board member to our children and taxpayers, but just to the administration.

Pam Lannom has no children in D181. For her to suggest that it is important for the Learning for All "process" to continue to roll out is irresponsible journalism! It was not a "process" when I voted for it. It was a plan, and I only voted yes because it was going to pass since the majority of the board wanted to rubber stamp what the administration wanted, but in order to hold the administration accountable I and Brendan Heneghan voted yes, something Turek personally promised me he would make sure would happen. Three years later, there has been no accountability. No data to prove that the plan has worked. And yet Turek "loves the plan" as he has repeatedly stated during the debates and board meetings.

It is truly disturbing that the Hinsdalean has reached the conclusion that the L4A plan should continue, a conclusion that will only hurt our children, should Turek get reelected.

On April 7th, please vote for 4 candidates who have recognized the deficiencies that exist in the district's administration and the L4A program and will not just roll over and pretend that all is rosy. These 4 candidates will not just rubber stamp the plan/process continued roll-out, but will demand data and demand accountability. That is NOT MICROMANAGEMENT, no matter how much the Hinsdalean likes to use that word.

On April 7th, vote for Burns, Czerwiec, Giltner and Gray!

Yvonne Mayer, Current Taxpayer, Former D181 Parent and Board Member said...

Oh yeah, and Turek didn't care at all that I was physically assaulted by a fellow board member. That is the icing on the cake. He not only disrespected me as a fellow board member, but as a woman, and his refusal to take a public stand on any type of physical abuse should be reason enough not to vote for him. He laughed at the Clarendon Courier debate when he referenced the blogger's list of reasons not to vote for him, but none of the reasons, especially that one are funny.

Parent Who has Lost Respect for the Hisndalean said...

It is clear as day that the Hinsdalean sold out to the highest bidder. They will whine and cry that "it ain't so" but do they really think the community is that stupid to not see this political gaming for what it really is.

Clear as day that McCurry's husband is a prominent advertiser. Doesn't each full page ad he runs cost just under $1000? If he runs one full paid ad each week, that is $52,000 per year. No way can the Hinsdalean afford to lose his advertising or that of other realtors who might support his wife running for the BOE. The Hinsdalean will claim, "no way, no way, journalistic integrity rules the day," but I'm not buying it and neither are other intelligent D181 community members.

If Ms. McCurry had actually given substantive, knowledgeable, fiscally responsible answers to the questions she was asked during the Hinsdalean vetting process and during the debates, then maybe, just maybe, their endorsement would make sense. But anyone closely reading all available material and who has watched both debates knows full well that she is the least prepared of all six candidates to serve our children well. Nice lady, maybe. But nice won't help our kids.

jay_wick said...

I have respected Ms. Lannom since she was just a reporter in a different era of community newspapers.

It is silly to attack the ethics of The Hinsdalean, the simple fact is they just don't have the resources to cover the schools in the depth necessary.

The fact is every member of the current BOE, save its titular head, have been critical of L4A. The administration has morphed this thing so many times that it is simply unrecognizable. It is clearly NOT serving all the learners and the evidence of that is not just here on this forum but in the FACT that where once ALL of district schools where on the on the Honor Roll from the Illinois State Board of Education now just ONE is on that list -- The Lane VS. ISBE Honor Roll Academic Excellence...

As I have encountered anyone that truly expresses an interest in why the BOE needs change I have tried to state the case for fiscal restraint in addressing the issues facing our schools, accountability for the direction of the schools, renewed focus on the classrooms not bloated administrative staff (that apparently cannot handle the tasks they were hired to perform...) and, above all, equal access to high quality schools.
If folks can honestly say they believe the candidates supported by The Hinsdalean stand for these things I am deeply worried about the future...

Please DONATE So I can afford more ads {even in the papers that support the wrong candidates, because, in principle I think community journalism is a good thing}


Be sure to "LIKE" my Facebook pages too!

Anonymous said...

I am pleased people are questioning the Hinsdalean.Pam Lannom and Jim Slonoff worked for the Doings until it was restructured and they lost their jobs. In 2006 they created the Hinsdalean. I asked Pam at the time where she got the funding to publish and distribute her newspaper free on everyone's doorstep? She said it came from advertising but she didn't have much advertising for quite a while. I've always wondered who backs her newspaper. She has a lot of political clout. Why should we care who or what a newspaper supports especially when its free on our doorstep? Why should we care who Pam supports? If any of us had the time and finances to deliver a free newspaper to every resident we would have a great deal of political power considering so many wait to see who Pam picks. When you think about it, it makes no sense. She doesn't even live here. I think she does it to advantage the reputation of the newspaper and herself. The other newspapers do not endorse candidates. I also don't think she should supervise the candidate forum. The League of Woman Voters used to do it, much more appropriate in my mind. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 12:06!! spot on!!

Anonymous said...

I agree 12:06. Each paper should strive for complete objectivity and lack of bias. The fact that Mr. McCurry is a large supporter of both The Hinsdalean and the Clarendon Courier and this fact was not disclosed at either debate or in The Hinsdalean's D181 election coverage is problematic and unethical. This is similar to Ms. MC Curry's failure to fully disclosure the conflict of interest inherent in her employment with D181. Disclosure cannot cure all conflicts but at least it shows honesty and impartiality.