Friday, January 8, 2016

Comment of the Day: Call to Action -- Parents Must Speak Out Now to Ensure that the Board of Education Demands Accountability From the D181 Administration

This morning we received the following comment -- a call to action -- encouraging D181 parents to write letters to the BOE before Monday's (1/11/16) BOE meeting.  We completely agree with what the author says and hope parents take the time to send short or long letters to the BOE reminding them of their obligation to properly oversee our children's education.  

Comment of the Day:

Anonymous said...

It is once again time for parents to write letters to the BOE. The BOE will consider recommendations and criteria measures for D 181 advanced math and accelerated math placement and trajectory this Spring. They will discuss the awful recommendations of a math trajectory plan aligned to Common Core as Dr. Benaitis stated that limits advancement to 5th grade and beyond. 5th grade people. That means KG, 1st, 2nd and 3rd not to mention 4th grade students will languish in grade level math classrooms. Are you kidding? How can one mold fit all of our students in D 181?

Advanced learning opportunities are the hallmark of successful school districts. We need all children to be met at their instructional needs. Those children in the top 1/3 of their class deserve enrichment and advanced learning. Those children at the top 2 to 3 percent are on their own trajectory and deserve something else. Why can't we meet the needs of our learners?

It is clear that the DOL does not hear from enough parents interested in change. Please consider writing a letter, however short or long summarizing your feelings about the district criteria, the math trajectory, and what is happening in our curriculum. We have to rally the troops to write letters and make comments. Otherwise, it will be more of the same. Parents with older children who are now raising their 2nd or 3rd child will not enjoy the same opportunities for advancement if the current DOL initiatives take hold and are approved. Support our BOE members Gray, Burns and Garg who continually question and challenge. Demand accountability. Please take the moment to write a letter, have a meeting or attend public BOE meetings for public comment. Thank you.
We agree that the time is now to demand accountability from an administration that has, in our opinion, clearly done a disservice to our students.  Under the terms of the Department of Learning administrators' contracts, Dr. White will need to make recommendations on whether to renew the one year contracts or to terminate the multi-year contracts on or before April 1. 

Dr. Schneider is currently on a one year contract, however, if his contract is renewed, he will have tenure in D181.  (Click to open Schneider contract.)** Under Section 10 of his contract, "a decision on this contract's extension, revision or non-renewal will be made by the BOARD no later than April 1 of each contract year.  Failure to so act on this contract's extension or revision or to provide a notice of non-renewal shall automatically renew this contract for one (1) additional year under the same terms and conditions of employment at the time." Last year, the BOARD did not take formal public action under the terms of this contract, rather it FAILED TO SO ACT, with the result being that Dr. Schneider's contract was automatically renewed.  We were shocked at the time that each board member was not given an opportunity to vote publicly on extending the contract.  We expect more from our elected officials and hope that this year, they will hold a public vote so that the community will see how each of the seven board members votes on this particular administrator's continued employment in D181.

Dr. Benaitis is currently on a three year contract which will end on June 30, 2017.  (Click to open Benaitis contract.) Under the terms of her contract, the Board has the option of unilaterally terminating her contract (with or without cause) and it's only obligation to her would be to pay her salary through the end of the current contract year. If the Board informed her that it was terminating her contract on or before June 30, 2016, it would only need to pay her salary through that date.   If the BOE fails to terminate her contract before June 30, 2016, but chooses to at a later date, it will be required to pay her salary through June 30, 2017.  We hope the BOE makes a responsible decision that will cost the D181 the least amount of money!  

We are not going to elaborate on all the myriad of reasons why it is our opinion that Dr. Schneider's contract not be renewed and he not be granted tenure, or why Dr. Benaitis' contract should be terminated.   Previous posts have laid out the reasons.  Because the Board approach has been to look to the superintendent to make recommendations on all administrators (other than, of course the superintendent),  Dr. White should soon be bringing his recommendations on these two employees to the BOE.  In our opinion, the recommendation Dr. White makes should give the BOE a very clear direction on whether or not to extend Dr. White's contract -- a step no doubt they will begin to consider as Dr. White approaches the end of the second year of his three year contract.  Let's not forget that the previous BOE extended Dr Schuster's contract shortly after she started the third year of her first contract.  So it is quite likely that the BOE will shortly begin debating the merits of whether to extend Dr. White's contract or inform him that he will only be a one term superintendent.  

Frankly, we think there is sufficient basis to not give Dr. White a second term contract.  But if there is any chance that the BOE is considering extending his contract beyond June 30, 2017, that "chance" should end if Dr. White has the audacity to recommend tenure for Dr. Schneider and fails to realize that termination of Dr. Benaitis's contract as of June 20, 2016 is what is in the best interest of the district.

As always SOUND OFF and we hope you all attend the January 11, 2016 BOE meeting that is currently scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Administration Center located at 115 West 55th Street, Clarendon Hills.

** Note:  The most recent version of Dr. Schneider's contract that has been published for the community is the July 2014 to June 30, 2015 contract linked above.  However, since Dr. White allowed his contract to automatically roll last spring, according to the Section 10 of the contract the extension would be under the same terms.) 


Anonymous said...

If I am reading board docs correctly, I think that the meeting tomorrow night starts at 6pm.

Anonymous said...

That's true. I just checked. The other meetings specify executive session at 6pm and 7 PM for regular or special board meeting. The executive session is at the end in this meeting based on the agenda.

Anonymous said...

We all know that this meeting tonight will likely be long-as all the other meetings are long and drawn out with no real change. If you cannot attend to show your support for great rigor in all of our grade level classrooms, K -5, by making public comment to support a more comprehensive math trajectory then please write a letter to your BOE.

They have to hear from the parents. One parent, two parents, three is not enough. We need to raise our voices. If every person who wrote on this blog demanding accountability, sharing frustration, and expressing concern over how ability based groups are formed and where children in the top 1/3 are getting their needs met wrote just one letter, sent just one email or made one phone call--that would be a powerful voice for change.

Once again they have updated the math trajectory proposal. FOr those who have been following it since its first placement on the Board Docs, you'll see they have now changed it from the Learning Committee post to the general Board post to reflect that in grades 3 and higher they will have a grade level group and an "advanced" group. In fifth grade, they will propose acceleration where kids will all of a sudden jump one or two years.

Until then, there is nothing. So what does it matter if they do away with the 2 SD criteria? If your child makes that as an elite top 2 percent, great. But the general math trajectory states nothing till 5th grade. Nothing. IF that doesn't make you write a letter, I dont know what will.