Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Breaking News: Election Results!

D181 Voters have spoken.

Final results are as follows: (NOTE:  Updated for all candidates on 4/9/15)

Burns             3407 votes
Giltner           3134 votes
Gray              3051 votes
Turek             2840 votes
Czerwiec       1926 votes
McCurry        2485 votes

Congratulations to the winners:  Jennifer Burns, Richard Giltner, Leslie Gray, and yes, even Marty Turek.

Here are our quick observations:

1. We are understandably disappointed that John Czerwiec did not win, but we are very grateful that he chose to contest the election and bring a real debate of the issues to our community. Mr. Czerwiec should be proud of the campaign he ran and the unselfish support he showed for Burns, Giltner and Gray.  Mr. Czerwiec, you are a CLASS ACT and we hope you consider running in 2 years!

2.  It amazes us that in a district with so many educational issues affecting our children, that there was still a very low turnout.  The Cook County election commission indicates that only 15.45% of registered voters cast a ballot.  We will post the Dupage County percentage as soon as it is published. Complacency is never a good thing.  

3. The motto, "Ignorance is bliss" is NOT a good thing, and in our opinion, that is the only reason that Mr. Turek was reelected.  He rode in on the coattails of the three other caucus candidates. He won nearly 700 votes less than Ms. Burns, and came in dead last to the three other caucus endorsed candidates.  By no means, should he take his "win" as an endorsement of his past behavior and actions on the BOE.  

4.  We sincerely hope that Mr. Turek realizes that he only won because the Caucus was stupid enough to endorse him and not because he has been a good or effective board member.  In our opinion, he simply got lucky. We hope he learns something from this election and begins to work hard to reclaim the trust of the many voters who refused to vote for him.

5.  But Mr. Turek has won, and now the D181 community is going to have to accept his "continuity" on the BOE.  We sincerely hope that the NEW BOE members will work with Mr. Turek and the other candidates to return academic excellence in the curriculum for ALL students AND accountability, not just in the decisions made by the Administration, but in the decisions made by the BOE.

6.  Guess the "vote for only one" candidate strategy didn't work out so well for the other loser..

One last piece of great news is that in the D86 BOE election,
Planson, Carpenter and Hirsman won!  We couldn't be more thrilled.  Congratulations to these three candidates who will bring much needed change to that board of education.

Well, that's all for tonight! It's been a long day and night and we are signing off.  But we invite our readers to SOUND OFF on the election results and what they might mean for D181's future.


Anonymous said...

I hope the new board will elect Ms. Garg President.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to get results of election by precinct? In both Dupage and Cook County?

Happy for Three, Not Four said...

Congratulations to Ms.Burns, Ms. Gray and Mr. Giltner. Sorry, but I can't congratulate Turek. I hope the community spends the next two years figuring out if they really want a Caucus that would openly harm the district by nominating such an irresponsible, caustic, and empty suit candidate. I know, I am a bad sport, but really? Did people who actually voted for him know his track record or did they just fall for the buzz words "Need continuity on the board.....?"

Anonymous said...

Overall, I'm very excited about the election results. Burns, Giltner and Gray are such strong candidates and Turek is now in the minority. Hopefully, he will no longer behave like a bully.

I've got to believe that everyone in the administration is worried today. They will no longer be able to push through their harmful, poorly created and executed plans on our children! We now have people in place who will ask the tough questions and hold them accountable!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Parents for Accountability for running this blog. It is well organized, thoughtful and informative. It has helped me as a parent and taxpayer better understand what is going on.

Thanks to ALL 6 candidates that ran. I voted for the 4 endorsed by this site and I am disappointed that John Czerwiec lost. Having said that, choices are what make a great democracy. I think we need contested elections and I am glad we had a hard fought election. It will make our board and school system better.

Anonymous said...

Well said, 9:43am!

Susan Blumberg-Kason said...

Congratulations to the winning candidates!

jay_wick said...

I am really very energized today.

The turn-out was HUGE, like DOUBLE the numbers for top vote getters Jen Burns & Rich Giltner than in any recent election. CONGRATS! Being a fan of Nate Silver and 538 style political analysis, that means GOOD THINGS for the future of the district that I have CONSISTENTLY said is the FINEST OF ITS SIZE IN THIS STATE!

Sure, there are LOTS of challenges. The trainwreck of state finances is almost certainly going to mean that the nearly one million dollars in State Income Tax receipts that the district has consistently received is likely to be slashed. In the context of the district budget that is 60x larger, this is not devastating, but it does mean the expenditures and/or staffing will need even tighter scrutiny. I think Rich Giltner is certainly capable of that and much more!

Of course I do not doubt that what motivates Rich, Jen and Leslie are the learners in the district. Kids that are not doing as well as data shows they ought to be cannot afford to have resources cut back! That means hard choices sooner rather than later.

The long term facilities issues cannot be put off any longer -- space issues are going to force a very hinky configuration of "trailer parks" and "minecraft temporary hallways" at HMS. That won't sit well with the homeowners that live nearby, the retailers that want folks to spend their upscale shopping / dining dollars in town, nor the parents that rightfully want appropriate learning space for their children... The ONLY way to address the need for real change is to build the SAME KIND OF BROAD SUPPORT that saw D86 sweep the radical ideologues from office AND the well-organized write-in backers hoist Len Austin triumphantly over the "make it up as we go along" prevaricators that wrongly believe there is some conspiracy to construct "towers of the rich and famous" in Clarendon Hills. The path forward will demand COOPERATION between ALL THESE GOOD PEOPLE! It has to happen QUICKLY before the euphoria of this success is replaced with the grim reality of other challenges ahead.

One of those challenges remains the troubling mismatch between the "tech hardware" our PTOs/PTAs have generously bought for our schools AND the real needs of the students as they are faced with an increasingly non-device-centric range of technology rencounters. My gut says that Dr. White is capable of putting together exactly the right plan to address this, but he will have to get LOTS of backing from not just the Foundation but also fair-minded tech-savvy folks in town that WON'T push for anything that benefits them unfairly...

That last bit opens up a window into my greatest fears about the upcoming BOE -- one of the most skilled and obvious advocates for appropriate technology directions in the district, Mridu, has too often been marginalized. If the returning member of the BOE wants a positive kind of continuity they'd do well to considering how best to leverage all the talents of new and existing members.

The various failings of both the assembly of the Caucus' nominating committees and the woefully inadequate "vetting" that happens when "old pals" look to reward their loyal acolytes is something that might deserve a whole new web site...

I actually have LOTS more good thoughts to share, some inspired by some of the hard to believe oleaginous rantings witnessed as folks celebrated their good fortune, but I have work to catch-up on and really do want to use the bits & bytes here for POSITIVE change.

Is there any truth to rumor that this site is really too much work for "the Parents"? That would really be a shame...

John J. Czerwiec

Anonymous said...

Mridu Garg for President!

Anonymous said...

John, I voted for you and wish you would have won. Thanks for your generosity and graciousness.

I need to say one thing about the caucus. Any one can be on it. Every two years, there are pleas for individuals to work on the caucus to vet candidates for D 181, the Library, and the Village Board. I was on the D 181 caucus many, many years ago. It is a lot of work, but there is conspiracy, no old boys club, no secret handshakes, no backroom deals. 12 to 14 folks canvass for candidates, interview candidates, and ultimately argue amongst themselves ( we had something like 4 ballots before we picked our candidates; it is not unanimous as a rule).

To all the well meaning parents and taxpayers out there: please consider volunteering your time for the caucus in two years. You will learn a ton and provide a valuable community service.

Anonymous said...

I think the community would have benefited from having Mr. Czerwiec on the board. Thank you for running and raising awareness of the issues. The board of education is not a popularity contest. I hope the three new members can help fix the state of affairs within the curriculum department.

jay_wick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jay_wick said...

I have served on the Hinsdale Caucus and Clarendon Hills Caucus too.

First, I have to say that anyone that cares about schools will learn FAR MORE RIGHT HERE than at any "caucus meeting".

I agree that, in theory, a nominating committee can work. When I served on the D181 Nominating Committee we did have several dedicated people, including Jerry Mejdrich, Neale Byrnes, Kristen Goliak, Jim Mercurio, Steve Davey, Molly Hughes, Denis Jones, Rohit Sahgal, Susan Young and others. We had an outstanding "chair" in Harvey Bergholz, who had such a wonderful experience that his letter recommending the Caucus is featured on its website. The candidates we selected came from a wide range of backgrounds, had diverse views, cooperative attitudes and mostly served well. They did nothing to disgrace those of us that selected them.

My concern is that when the folks that come together do so FAR TOO EARLY it creates an atmosphere that breeds insularity and secretive nonsense. Eleven months ago when the Caucus formed the committee for nominating candidates there was a whole different environment. Former superintendent Schuster was leaving, Dr. White was not yet here, only a few hardcore followers of the schools really understood why there was such a massive problem with HMS, precious few people even knew what L4A was, there were no real controversies hitting the papers about the mess at D86 and a whole different, far too small, group of people "showed up" to the Caucus formation. Some of those people are well known anti-tax types. It further is a fact there there was NO representation from Clarendon Hills. That lack of balance really skewed things.

The Caucus is antiquated. The value of relying on just a handful of people to "vet" candidates in specious. Clearly if the true motivations of some folks on the BOE were widely known there is NO WAY that any decent person would have said they should have been endorsed...

The process can be modernized. It would be relatively easy to make it more responsive, more accessible, more suited to the realities of social media, instant communication, and equality of information. The folks that are currently on the Executive Board can choose to update the bylaws to reflect these things. Failing to do so would doom the Caucus to irrelevance.

There are other questions to look at too. In Clarendon Hills we managed to energize the community on very short notice to carry Len Austin to victory on a write-in candidacy. That happened in WEEKS not eleven months! The reason folks were so energized was largely because of the very undemocratic interference of outsiders and radical ideologues in prompting the Clarendon Hills Caucus endorsed candidate for Village President to withdraw but the lesson is simple -- more time is NOT helpful in getting good candidates.

Similarly there was no kind of caucus involved in assembling the D86 Planson/Carpenter/Hirsman slate. A handful of concerned parents / community members and former teachers put the word out that they would do whatever it takes to get fair-minded people to be victorious over the shills backed by the radical ideologues. That did take some very talented organizing forces BUT THEY TOO did not come together until late last fall!

Does D181 really benefit from having the Caucus slate candidates? I know what I spent on this race, in time, money and aggravation. I have talked with Rich Giltner, Leslie Gray and Jen Burns about the costs to them. (as well as what the fourth did...) Would their ability to serve the interests of the whole community have D181 been easier or harder without the Caucus?

The answer to such questions, over the next few weeks and months, will shape the landscape not just for the next the BOE election (that filing deadline will be just before Christmas of 2016...) but also the very important decisions about the future of HMS (likely to be decided by a trip to the polls a year from now...) and any future changes facing our schools.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jay, good comments. I am the former caucus guy. The caucus to me is another data point for the parents/taxpayers that cannot attend every board meeting. The data points include this blog, the local papers, friends in the district , etc. The caucus does not always get it right. I believe this is the first election in some time where all their candidates won.

Many folks believe the caucus is some kind of secret society that conspires to control Hinsdale and the School Board. In fact, the caucus is open to every one. Residents of Clarendon Hills could have/should have volunteered for the caucus. If CH folks don't show up, don't blame the caucus. They try to get reps from all of the school areas to serve on the caucus, but if people don't come forward, there is not much they can do.

When i served, we met in the fall and selected our candidates so they could file by the deadline. I am not sure I understand/believe that people were interviewing candidates last May. I recall seeing solicitations for caucus members in the late summer/early fall. I could be wrong.

Every thing could be improved. I am deeply disturbed by the drop in test scores in D181 and the ongoing 12 year soap opera that is D86. ( the troubles started long before 2013, but that is a topic for another time. Please remember we had a child molester at Hinsdale Central back in the "good old days".)

Jay, keep up the good fight and please give it another shot the next time.

Anonymous said...

If the caucus is not going to follow their bylaws they should stay out of endorsing D181 candidates. They formed a committee of 7-8 members which was not representative of all of the school areas. Very disappointed that they helped elect Marty Turek. They could have just endorsed 3 candidates and let Mr. Czerwiec and Ms. Mccurry take the 4th spot. If you have a child in the district you would realize how important the schools are, they are not just a way to boost your home value. Board endorsements affect our children's education for the next 2-4 years. If you have kids in a private school, you are not affected and are probably unaware of the problems or do not care about what's happening.

Anonymous said...

While I am disappointed that John did not win, but I am thrilled that the board will be more focused on asking for facts and evidence with the new majority.

I am just not worried any more. Yay!

Anonymous said...

Have some integrity for once and change it on the home page - post the correct number of votes. Amy Antrim McCurry 2485. She rode no "coat tails" and would have beat all candidate if they weren't riding the 1,2,3,4 caucus "tail".

jay_wick said...

Part 1 of 2

Facts are facts! Get yours straight.

The three BOE members seated two years ago were all caucus endorsed. The relative knowledge / passion / interactiveness of Clarin, Garg & Vorobiev all vary but they are all honorable people that have no whacky ulterior designs on using the BOE as some base of power.

Four years ago Marty "busted" the caucus slate. He deprived the community of Susan Nezra, an extremely qualified candidate whose experience as a physician, business leader and skilled community volunteer would have put the district in a very much better place than it currently is. Marty spent thousands and thousands of dollars on that race and the source included some less than savory associations.

The prior BOE, seated six years ago, was 100% caucus -- I worked hard to ensure not just high quality candidates, but met with those that were contemplating an opposing run and convinced them to avoid such conflict.

These things happened before Facebook was something mainstream parents in our district relied on, when the Doings was still locally owned and a valued source of info, and when the polarizing effects of radical ideologues had no real influence...

Things have changed and the Caucus, like a dowager clutching her pearls, has been left behind. This time only one charlatan conned the biddies that showed up, next time things could really go off the rails.

The Parents said...

11:04: Thanks for pointing out that the published election results changed since we posted on Tuesday night. We have updated the results for ALL of the candidates. We stand by our earlier observations, which, if you had read them carefully, did not suggest that Ms. McCurry ran on anyone's coattails.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for changing the number of votes to reflect a more accurate count. When Mrs. McCurry is pointed out as a "loser" and then the votes calculated showed a much lower (inaccurate) count on the homepage it reflected poorly on the integrity of the post. We should all strive to have a truthful and positive message. I appreciate it being changed. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow 11:04. You dare attack the integrity of the blog for posting numbers from Tuesday night that changed since they ran the post? They ran their post to get the word out on who won and who lost. Even the press that ran stories later didn't get all the numbers correct. Looks like both Turek and McCurry got a significant bump up. Must have been one of the Clarendon Hills precincts reporting late. It doesn't really matter though because Turek won and McCurry lost. No change in the outcome. No lack of integrity seen in this mistake, but go ahead and complain. Bet you'll grumble too if McCurry doesn't get her job back.....which, in my opinion she shouldn't unless she is the most qualified of all other parents who should be given equal opportunity to apply for the "vacancy" created by her "resignation," a vacancy that still has NOT been posted. Hmmhh?? I smell a "rat...."

Anonymous said...

I too am disappointed that the caucus endorsed Mr. Turek. How many of the caucus members attended board meetings in the last two years? Too bad the caucus members didn't have the bloggers list of reasons why he shouldn't be elected to review his legacy of actions/inactions taken while he's served as president. Thank goodness the board policies don't allow for him to be elected to the presidency for a third year in a row. Should be interesting watching the "dance" that will certainly take place to decide who will sit in that seat next. It shouldn't be anyone with a conflict -- such as Mr. Clarin. It shouldn't be someone who has been practically mute for most of the last two years -- won't name names, but you can figure it out. It should be someone who will recognize that they cannot have information that is not equally shared with the rest of the board and who will try and control the discussion at board meetings to the point that there is no real discussion. It can be a new board member -- as has already been done by Nelson (even though he wasn't very effective, in my opinion) -- as long as it is one of the new members who has regularly attended meetings and is up to speed on the issues. Garg, Burns or Gray could all do the job and I hope for the sake of our children that one of them is elected to the presidency.

jay_wick said...

Part 2 of 2
The Caucus can make changes to be more like Wikipedia and less like some Victorian era salon. The depth of information that comes from "the wisdom of the crowd" as present on blogs like this means that we could truly have a forum to hash out who has the traits of knowledge, fairness, service and leadership that good journalists list.

The fact is back when the Caucus was still working well it was easy for folks that all read The Doings to have a "common language". Now each school has its own weird mix of poorly maintained websites, PTO mailing lists, and maybe even a few with Facebook pages or 'closed groups'. In this atmosphere of Balkanization, charlatans thrive. Nobody knows who is being truthful and who is exaggerating.

The allegedly "non-partisan" Caucus is shockingly easy to co-opt. Instead of section heads diligently visiting PTOs and buttonholing neighbors as I did when I served on the Caucus, an ideologically driven section head just tells his or her likeminded pals to show up , avoids anyone that does not share such views and, viola success for your Manchurian candidate is ensured. Sound familiar? That's how the anti-tax types did it 11 months ago!

Worse is that the outdated idea that "we all want what is best for all" that allegedly keeps The Caucus from advocating for things like a particular curricular focus or even a particular direction for facilities means that those who are crypto-candidates benefit. They get by with their hollow promises of "continuity". The community needs much more!

We need to have a forum that will encourage debate AND shared responsibility. Folks need to be tied to a single username. Look how the TRUE
Online Bullying of Skoda's campaign manager Bland/ kidchaos destroyed that slate! (Also note how the crocodile tears and anti-democratic strategy of another candidate did not pan out...).

The lack of transparency inherent in The Caucus' operation is incompatible with what is needed if we truly are going to benefit from initiatives of The Foundation to really get value from our "digital investments". The stupid traditional caucus cycle would have the cicada-like piles of dead orange-eyed bugs being swept away just as we most need strong support for something that ought to be more that a loud annoying noise! Our kids need community support to ensure Ian Jukes does not walk away $50k richer while our schools schelp along with an incoherent strategy! The same people that used their coffees, yard signs and personal emails to drive nearly 4000 people to the polls also ought to be energizing civic minded people with the potential to jump out of the buggy whip era and into the space age!

The saddest thing is the structure of The Caucus lacks even a basic Candidates Night or similar event that even young Mike Ellis recognized as a good thing. In a year's time where will we hash out the best solution for HMS if all the social calendar types are still on their chaise lounges in tropical get-aways? Will only the miserly forces get out their base to defeat a referendum?

We need something much better than the vapor sniffing antiquated Caucus! We need to put the smart people that crafted Len Austin's write-in success together with the dynamic team that got Planson/Carpenter/Hirsman elected AND get the energy of The Foundation in on the mix.

If the caucus wants in on that dance they got to toss out the 8tracks and listen to some streaming HD!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Clarin's dismissive attitude towards parents and some board members shows he doesn't value different view points and tax payer feedback. He seems to stick to the old boy network and seems to easily believe whatever the administration says. Mr. Turek has been board president one too many times. The least knowledgeable and does not push the administration to deliver on data analysis for the past few years. He seems to be focused on protecting LFA or preventing any kind of ability grouping. Not sure why but it has been detrimental for our community. With common core, it shouldn't matter where a child goes to school. They are taking away the edge our schools had with removal of advanced programs and now special need services with inclusive classrooms. Most districts have special programs and many have special schools since this seems to be the trend.

jay_wick said...

Gary is a very generous, ethical and dedicated member of the BOE. He has broad experience from business, corporate boards, community organizations and other volunteer positions. He spends an enormous amount of time getting "first hand feedback" from teachers, staff and parents. His decision not to engage in too much "second guessing" of the administration in public might make it seem like he is always "backing the status quo". That is not at all accurate. I believe he more often knows that the best way get things to improve in the district is incrementally -- changes that happen too fast are likely to be resisted by teachers, staff and even thoughtful parents.

If Gary's pace worries some folks, they should be reassured that he also knows that in many critical areas the district is quite a bit "behind the curve". Though he'd probably be among the first to admit that he is not the most adept with "new technology", he does a good job listening to those who are. His experience on the "business side" also gives him a healthy skepticism about those who "over promise and under deliver". Like many business people he knows that if one rushes toward the cheapest or 'quickest' solution that does not really work you end spending more time and money fixing the broken things.

With the prospect of a solution for HMS looming AND the potential for lots of changes in technology throughout ALL of the district schools Gary has no "conflict of interest" in showing favoritism to any of the schools...

The district could do much worse than having Gary be responsible for setting the agenda...

Anonymous said...

Well said, Jay Wick! That's why I voted for you and I told all of my friends and neighbors to vote for you. I also completely agree with the previous post that says Mr. Clarin has been very dismissive to parents. I am extremely concerned with why our district and board ever decided to overlook all of the other superlative issues in D181 like overcrowding at HMS, the implementation of the common core, the new math curriculum and the the lack of continuing professional development for our districts still very new language arts, writing, and RTI programs. Add what about LFA? Just because Kurt talked about it at 3 BOE meetings, there still is not any substantive definition or written resource guide that any principal can pick up and readily refer to. Although Dr. Schneider and his friends keep talking it up, there is no data to support its success. And if there is a successful model that we are imitating, WHERE is it? Let's see how they are doing. Why re-create the wheel?

In reality, the LFA plan continues to morph into something new every time Dr. White or Dr. Schneider speak in public. At first, it was claimed that there would be no ability groups. Then it turned into, well, some schools could have ability grouping, but not all. Now the pendulum seems to be swinging back to whatever each school decides is ok with the district! That's exactly where we started 2 years ago! And of course we all want inclusion, but inclusion and appropriate learning environments are mandated by law anyway. The real question is, do our administrators and teachers KNOW what an appropriate learning environment even looks like for each and every child? Who and what are we emulating? In my children's experience, and the experience of many other parents with children with regular, gifted, or special needs, no. Parents are tired of the run around, The constantly changing definition of what LFA is flies completely in the face of what the parents and teachers wanted: consistency across the district.

What I and most parents I have spoken to want to know is, who is supervising and monitoring all of these balls juggling in the air? And why do they think, that in addition to all of the spheres suspended in space, that NOW is the appropriate or opportune time to pay Ian Jukes a $50,000 consultation fee when computers are nowhere near the answer to our problems! When the decision was made to hire him, no one on the administration could even answer Mr. Heneghan when he asked if the new math curriculum selected was even COMPATIBLE with our current technology. Or what technology the math curriculum was compatible with. The answer to that question does not require a $50,000 consultant. It simply requires an administrator or technology administrator with some basic comprehension and critical thinking skills. (Continued)

Anonymous said...

Part 2

Is there a required technological component of our language arts program? No. Would it be nice to have? Yes. But it will not help teachers understand the main crux of the problem - that our children are not getting a thorough foundation in the core subjects and critical thinking skills that the development of new technology requires. Our children are leaving elementary schools with no idea of the conventions of writing. Their reading comprehension scores are dropping And if their writing and comprehension skills are poor, now, their math skills will also suffer because common core math makes children explain everything in writing . It looks like teachers still are not sure how to properly implement common core. So my question is, with glaring issues like these facing us, why did we rush to hire Ian Jukes? Dr. White just told us that he will be hiring a new assessment administrator who will tell us how to analyze data. Ok. But do the teachers even know how to use the new books yet? Have they even arrived? The district needs to slow down, focus, and stop wasting money like it grows on trees. Supposedly our district has no money for newsletters and paper parent communication, but there always seems to be loads of money available for consultants, committees, unexpected HMS repairs, and technology.

If the state truly did mandate more technology for our schools, then THEY have to provide the framework and consultants to help our school district implement it. They can pay for Ian Jukes. We need to stop rushing to be innovative tech leaders. This is an elementary and middle school district - not a futuristic job training center. Let's focus on teaching kids to read, write, think and get along with others before we ask them to create an iMovie on school iPads. What is the point of buying more technology when our elementary schools still don't have real science books? (Cont...)By the way, what were the results of the facilities focus groups that parents were invited to discuss? What's the new facility plan - raise property taxes again for a new middle school, design a renovation/addition for HMS, or, (most likely scenario) stick our kids in portable trailers in the parking lots of downtown Hinsdale so we can have lots of flashy, PLANS for a new tech world from Ian Jukes? News flash - Mr. Jukes and our administration could care less about the fact that downtown Hinsdale will soon look like a mobile home park. Or, that teachers and kids will have to run through parking lots in order to get to their new classrooms. Why would anyone think the administration even cares about where the money will come from - it is not their money, so they don't really worry about it. According to them, that, along with everything else, is the parent's problem.

Will Ian Jukes be able to somehow magically solve all of our curriculum and professional development deficiencies by selling us a new $ million dollar plan to purchase technology? No. Instead, let's focus on the basics first, like special education, the core curriculum, and the necessary teacher professional development that will enable those vital pieces of our district to thrive again. What exactly do our specialists need to be doing to support the classroom teachers? Only when the vital organs of our schools are functioning properly and collaboratively, should the other ancillary issues, like technology, be given priority and $50,000.

The Juke is on Us.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the district could do a lot worse than Gary Clarin. But we could also have done a lot better. I don't think that you could find more that one other parent who thinks that Gary is adept at getting "firsthand feedback" from PARENTS themselves. It is actually laughable to think that you believe Mr. Clarin has engaged any parent in any sort of of communication with the intent of gaining a deeper understanding of their point of view. Especially any educated parent who has written to the board, or one who has spoken up at meetings. Perhaps he was nice to you, but he is not cooperative to most.

I have heard that he is adept at pretending to listen to other points of view. That he acts very sympathetic and concerned with the issues that parents bring to him at places like Corner Bakery, and nods with them in agreement. In actuality, he has no interest in supporting anything but his own narrow minded, teacher biased opinion. Jay, most of the time you make sense. This time you are wrong.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Clarin thinks he is speaking for the teachers or that the administration is actually representing all teachers but he is misinformed and is quite disconnected from the realities of the classroom on a daily basis. It is understandable not having children in the district but maybe he should listen to the parents who are having to deal with a lack of information and ever changing curriculum and instructional methods and the heavy reliance on the parent to help their child at home with homework and reinforcing skills. We did not get trained for this and have a right to ask for some sanity and better programming so that our kids get the instruction they need at school and not at home. If you look at districts like ours they are not eliminating programs but adjusting them for common core while continuing to provide advanced/accelerated programs to more than a select few. These districts are giving their teachers the time they need to become familiar teaching with new materials and making sure they address the standards instead of making them also differentiate to a whole learning spectrum at the same time. I don't agree with taking risks with little children especially those who are already behind or at grade level and who may fall behind even more if the teachers can't address their needs. Is it also fair to make a child teach their peers or hold them back? I can't believe the nonsense that is going on in this district and the lackadaisical attitude of the board and the administration.

Anonymous said...

It IS nonsense and is what happens when you put people in charge who have no idea what they are doing because they have no experience doing it. ANYWHERE. Why Dr. White and our current BOE majority have such blind faith in Schneider and Benaitis is beyond me. No proof that anything they are doing is working for all students, no other similar districts who are implementing any of this successfully anywhere else, no data for anything. All they have is their philosophies and the forced support of a few teachers and principals (whose numbers seem to be dwindling at every meeting). District propaganda and lies about "support" isn't enough. Sweeping changes need to be based on more than just the opinions of a few.

Anonymous said...

I have spoken at several BOE meetings and e-mailed the BOE. No one except Ms. Garg and Mr. Heneghan have ever responded to me or attempted to find out more about the issues that concerned me.

Anonymous said...

Dear The Juke is on Us,

That was perhaps the best post on this blog, ever!

The LFA plan is an embarrassment. The board approved an incomprehensible power point presentation about three years ago. Since then LFA has become exactly what a given administrator says it is at any given time. The results were predictably disastrous.

Having Scheneider put a finer point on it over several months didn't help. The "seminal document" is rife with pull quotes attributed to nobody and end notes which cite to nothing in the text. In a high school composition course, this document is an F.

As for technology, the fact is our kids are already adept at using it. Most have surpassed their parents. The students of this district do not need more acess or insruction in technology. They already have it.

What they lack is instruction AND practice in basic skills. The writing program is a bad joke. My child came home the other day with a matrix stapled to his writing assignment. The matrix is supposed to provide the grade and inform the student as to what she did well and what needs improvement. There was not a mark on the composition itself, however.

There is no earthly way to teach writing this way. The matrix stapled to the composition is meaningless. The only way to improve writing is to dive into the text, pull it apart, deconstruct and move it around.

As far as I can tell, there is no actual insruction happening at school. Instead, they are workshoping everything and self teaching. For grade schoolers, I cannot think of a worse approach.

If the district really cared about critical thinking, they'd make sure our youngest students mastered basic skills and facts. The best critical thinkers always seem to be able to recall a trove of facts before applying reason to them and arriving at a conclusion.

Meanwhile, the only thing happening in our district is the intellectual equivalent to finger painting.

Anonymous said...

I had the same experience as April 11, 10:43. In my communications with the 181 board only Ms. Garg and Mr. Henegan were kind enough to respond. Sadly I got the impression they did not want the rest of the board to be aware of their communications with me. I wonder why Mr. Henegan did not run for a second term. I am pleased with the new members and hope they set a friendlier relationship with the community.

Anonymous said...

My concern is how the new majority to approach the LFA math disaster.

Do the administrators still believe that they can achieve higher scores than d181 had a couple years ago when they thought they could raise the floor and raise the ceiling? Even if they do, they don't really know why, except that they saw a video. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The facts are that the integrated class room does not make any intuitive sense. Having a broad range of students in a class has never been helpful in primary education, secondary education or post secondary education. I am amazed that they would attempt to implement this without a thorough understanding of how it works, why it works, and what will make it successful. Furthermore, a key part of the argument for this approach is that accelerated students perform worse in later grades, so not accelerating them is helpful. The problem is that this is not the case in district 181. Unfortunately, the administrators ignored this key fact in their rush to hop on the edu-fad train.

The reality is that all they have done is to stop accelerating students who were being accelerated successfully. For that reason, it has been clear from inception, that this program was doomed to permanently result in lower scores among the top students.

If they aren't accelerated in elementary, how will they be ready for pre-algebra in 6th grade? If they aren't ready for pre-algebra in 6th grade, how will they complete algebra and geometry in middle school? If they don't finish geometry in middle school, how will they complete multivariable calculus in high school like the current top students? It was always obvious to anyone with basic reasoning skills and the ability to ignore double talk.

If they can't explain how they are going to get more kids through geometry in middle school then they can't raise the scores. And there is no way to do that while slowing the students down. The only way to do it is to get more students into the top track, not to take all of the top students out of the top track. lol

Anagram for Kurt Schneider = huckster in red

Anonymous said...

Board Docs are posted. Stuck towards the end of the presentation is the discussion of "math acceleration". The DOL is proposing to limit it to very few students and say that student needs will all be met through differentiation. So basically they are still going forward with the plan to then accelerate the kids who need to be 2 years in 6th grade so that they can stay on track for the Honors tracks at the high school. Of course, so far there is no data or commentary from the middle school or high school teachers to support his radical shift, nor is there discussion that perhaps the 30% of students who used to be accelerated might be harmed from this "plan". We will just purchase new math materials, wave our magic wand and it will happen. Trust us. Watch out D181 parents, here we go again!$file/Subject%20Acceleration%20Math_4_13_15.pdf

Anonymous said...

I would like to know what the math department at Hinsdale Central thinks of this stategy. This is a radical shift in how the math curriculum has been delivered over the years and shouldn't we have the "math experts" explain the ramifications? Again, no option is perfect. A few years ago, my son was told he would be challenged through differentiation in the classroom. That completely failed. Again, what are the other schools that feed into Hinsdale Central doing? We need to challenge this one!

Anonymous said...

To approve this plan, I would want to understand a very detailed plan that will deliver a higher percentage of accomplished math students to the high school than the current plan as was mentioned in a prior post. While keeping in mind that hope is not a strategy.

To do that you need to understand all of the specific objectives for each grade and when and how each will be met along the way.

"Trust me, I am an expert" is not the right answer.

Anonymous said...

What about Mr. Turek's moment of honesty where he acknowledged that top students are not currently being challenged effectively, and suggested that they should do something about that in the next few years?

How can they approve another plan to challenge students through differentiation while concurrently acknowledging that the students are not really being challenged? So they are just pretend being challenged? How are these pretend challenges developed?

Can they continue to baffle them the BOE with b.s.? We will see.