Monday, January 11, 2016

NEW COMMENT OF THE DAY: Now We've Seen It All -- District Releases Thousands of Students' Names, Grades, Schools and Parent Contact Information to Political Group.

Moments ago we received the following public comment.  After reading the news article the comments provides a link to, we are left speechless.  Not really.  But we are outraged as current D181 parents that the Administration released all of our students names, schools they attend, the grade they are in, along with parent names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses to a political group.  The article doesn't address whether or not the Board of Education was consulted before this information was released, but we would bet it was not. Hopefully this will be discussed during tonight's meeting and someone will be held accountable.

As always, SOUND OFF!

Comment of the Day #2:

Jill Quinones said...
I hope the District plans to speak on how it is going to revise its policy on releasing to the general public personal information, especially about our children. 


I'm glad the State Legislator wants to look at the State Code, but honestly the District needs to revise its own policy. Despite what Ms McGuiggan says, on the registration forms there was NO OPTION to opt out of public release - only release to PTOs and/or D181 Foundation. The Parent/Student Handbooks only refer to information to be released by building Principals - NOT the District Central Office Administrators. And it requires yet another hoop after registration of writing a letter to the Principal "at the beginning of the school year" - just how many days is that?

The policy should be one of opting IN to public release, it should be part of registration, it should require BOE prior approval unless a matter of health or safety (as a check and balance on the Superintendent), and there should be a link on the District website or an email to parents indicating when such a release has happened, to whom, and what information was released.

There is no way a political committee needs children's names, addresses, phone numbers, school attending and grade level - but that's what was given out without a thought!


Anonymous said...

It is so encouraging to hear so many parents speak up today at the board meeting. Thank you all.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what disconcerts me more: the pro-referendum committee needed this info, or that the district gave out this info. I agree with those who say sharing this info should be an opt-in feature. While a phone directory is good for inviting your kid's friends over for a birthday party or something, I don't see why the general public needs to know this info. I don't want the pro-referendum committee (or any political committee for that matter) to call me. If I share my contact info, I want it to be used only for playdate setups, or emergency/important info (i.e. school closed the next day, my kid got sick, etc.).

Anonymous said...

I work in the district, and unfortunately, this is leak of personal information is not unprecedented. I've heard that a number of years ago, someone in the district tried e-mailing an innocuous file, but accidentally attached a file with employees records (including social security numbers). I forget the exact details, but how could someone accidentally e-mail such sensitive information?

To make matters worse, a number of years ago at a beginning of the school year departmental meeting, I got to the meeting room and found that someone had left out MY employment record out on the table. It had my name, my salary, my work schedule, my complete birthday and my complete social security number. While limited in scope, this was a GIANT breach of my privacy. I don't understand why anyone would have that (especially my full social security number, and not just final four digits), much less how they could leave that out in the open on a table. I don't know how many of you have been victims of identity theft, but I have years before (unrelated to the district). Believe me, it's not fun. So I talked to my supervisor when they came in, as well as contacted the superintendent. They gave the obligatory apologies and looked into it. While I didn't hear much from it, fortunately, I haven't had any more issues of identity theft.

With all this, I'll be looking for a new job. I can no longer work in a district that's so lax with people's personal information. I just have one request for all of you readers: we need to form a class action lawsuit. Obviously, the district has little to no regard for how private information, and we need to show them that this is unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

I read the Tribune article. It says "The official term 'directory information' creates a little confusion on this," she said.

District 181 give parents the opportunity during online registration to opt out by checking boxes of having their information shared with their school's PTO and/or the District 181 Foundation. McGuiggan said opting out of either also includes an opt-out for third-party requests, such as Citizens for a new HMS. Student handbooks also include information about opting out of having directory information shared by submitting a written request.

The impression is that the district gives parents the opportunity to opt out. However, the district registration forms on the website says:

Parent permission will be expressly requested for release to external audiences of a student's address, phone number, birth date, and parent/guardian name(s). Exceptions to the above-stated guidelines include sharing information that may be required by local, state and federal education agencies and as described in Board of Education policy

We didn't give an express release to give information to the referendum committee. Why can t this district get anything right....and stop making excuses when you make a mistake!

Elm Parent said...

I listened to last night's meeting and was glad to hear many of the board members share parent concerns about the release of information. I was disgusted by White's ignorance and the bad legal advice he received. Changing the policy and how future requests for this information are handled is a start to correcting this breach, but what really needs to happen is for the lawyers to be replaced and White's contract not be renewed. I don't think that he or the current lawyers can be trusted. He made way too many excuses last night, trying to justify his decision to release this information to a political group that hadn't even filed a FOIA request.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention all of the excuses he has made to defend Kurt Schneider and Dawn Benaitis for the district's math disaster and the excuses he made trying to explain why he and the DOL can't seem to provide significant and meaningful opportunities for advanced students in math despite the BOE's Spring directive. Why is it that every other high performing district in the state doesn't have a problem doing this and why was our district able to do it for years if it is so complicated? Hmmm, administrators qualified to do it perhaps??? But no worries, let's focus some more on SELAS, that's what really matters in regards to high school placement. Kudos for the BOE members who do the heavy lifting at these meetings so that our kids experiences will, hopefully, improve. We all owe them a big debt of thanks.

Anonymous said...

SELAS - That's a laugh. White, Schneider and the rest of the administration need to sit in on a SELAS presentation. Part of being an upstanding citizen is taking responsibility for your actions. Has anybody seen any District Administrator take responsibility for anything? I just see them blaming everyone else for every poor and self-serving decision they have made.

In our house, if our children blame others for their mistakes, they are punished more than if they admitted the error of their ways. Most parents handle discipline in the same manner. Why are we holding our children to a higher standard than we hold the people who educate them?

Anonymous said...

Just read a Sun Times article which says yesterday, Chicago aldermen questioned just about everything on the City Council's Finance Committee agenda. Looks like Chicago Alderman have finally woken up.

Meanwhile the district 181 board of education is still asleep at the wheel. Bravo! The board just keeps letting Dr. White and Dr. Schneider make excuses, waste our tax dollars and do what they want.

The Parents said...

10:36: We respectfullly disagree with your conclusion that the BOE is asleep a the wheel. Last night, for the first time in a long time, a majority of the board was united in expressing their concerns regarding the mass release of information AND curriculum issues. Board members Gray, Burns and Garg were joined by Giltner and Vorobiev in pointedly questioning the decision by Dr. White to release the information and also calling out the administration for ignoring their board directive that ability groups/tiered math be reinstated with a goal of returning to the practice of advancing at least 1/3 of our students so they could complete Geometry in 8th grade. While we were not at the meeting, we listened and it was quite clear from what we heard that they are no longer going to allow White to make excuses that don't make any sense in response for actions he takes that impact D181's children. The release of children's names, schools they attend and grades they are in was not deemed acceptable by the board majority and Gray in particular pushed hard for White to explain how he could have made such a bad judgment in releasing all this information (plus parent names, addresses, home and cell phone numbers and email addresses) to a political group. When it came time to discuss the "math trajectory" that seems to be constantly changing, Burns was quite direct in calling out the administration for not following the board directive and was joined by Gray, Giltner, Vorobiev and Garg. Perhaps the tide is changing and a new BOE majority has emerged that will no longer allow the administration to pull the wool over their eyes. We agree that it is time they question White and his administration on all topics, since their conduct in the last five months has proven that they cannot be trusted.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like last night was a bear of a meeting that was a marathon. I know the district summary will not be accurate and I simply do not have 6 hours to listen to a podcast. Can anyone who listened give a quick summary?

Anonymous said...

Parents: I agree, the board definitely seems to want more accountability now. The administration really needs some oversight, as long as it doesn't become micromanagement. I'd like the board to push a bit more, give a stern "fix the curriculum or you're fired", and stick to that.

However, I disagree with you on advancing at least ⅓ of students so they do Geometry in 8th grade. While I want as many students as possible to get to that level, if not higher, I don't think a quota will work. I just fear that some kids might be pushed into higher tiered math before they're ready just to fill the quota. As we've seen, that would only lead to dumbing down the curriculum and paying for tutors. If all the kids in the higher tiers are ready, great, but I don't think we should have an arbitrary quota to fill.

Anonymous said...

11:35: I just checked and the recording was 5 hours. For Pete's sake, why do we need such long meetings? Why can't we have more frequent, but shorter, meetings every month instead of 5-6 hour long meetings? I seriously doubt anyone can think clearly after that amount of time, that late. Plus, they probably have jobs to go to the following morning. I'd much rather go to 2-3 board meetings for 2 hours each a month instead of 1 meeting 5 hours long.

Also, the pro-referendum committee is having its first meeting today at the Hinsdale public library at 7:00. While I'm voting a big fat "NO" in the referendum, I'd be interested in going, playing devil's advocate and see how they bend & distort the facts in their favor.

The Parents said...

We, the bloggers, listened to the entire meeting. Today, we feel completely hung over from listening to the marathon (and assume the board members feel the same way), so we are not going to spend any time on a summary. Perhaps if no one else does so in the next couple of days, we will take a crack at it, but we think it's time parents actually listened to the meeting, since it was a doozy and will really expose how horrible the administration has behaved and how certain board members -- Gray, Burns, Giltner, Garg and Voroviev -- finally stepped up and pushed back against administrative (in our words and opinion) "misbehavior."

The Parents said...

12:04: We don't think the BOE is asking for a quota. Rather they recognize that our population of students is already way ahead of the national norms and yet the DOL has implemented plans to keep our students learning grade level common core, disregarding the board directive that students be advanced. We haven't looked at the actual percentage of students who were advanced in the past to graduate 8th grade completing geometry, but we know it was significantly more than the few that this administration would offer the opportunity to. All of this was discussed at great length last spring (and again last night) by the BOE before they directed the administration to reimplement the math tiers. The administration has ignored that directive and now the BOE majority are putting their foot down. Thank goodness because someone has to look out for our children's future not only going into high school but also their ability to compete for admission into colleges that (but for some star athletes) expect students to have completed either Calculus AB or BC, and for some real elite schools Multivariable calculus, in high school. Keeping our students at grade level means they may not complete these math courses and will not be competitive for admission into the Ivy league colleges and their equivalents. This administration has really come full circle from their original mantra of "raise the floor to raise the ceiling." What a shame it would be for our children's futures to be decided by the DOL administration's recent actions that effectively "lower the ceiling to the floor for all students." Is that really what you want?

Anonymous said...

Parents: this is 12:04. I probably misunderstood you. Can you clarify what you meant by "their board directive that ability groups/tiered math be reinstated with a goal of returning to the practice of advancing at least 1/3 of our students so they could complete Geometry in 8th grade"? That sounds like trying to fill a quota. If I'm misunderstanding that, my apologies. Unlike some the administrators in this district, I'll accept responsibility for my mistakes.

I have to say, needing to take multivariable calculus in high school just to have a shot at Ivy League & other elite colleges is mind boggling. High level math always went above my head. But then again, I don't think traditional schools were really my thing. While I did get a bachelors degree from a regular 4-year college, I did better when I took continuing ed classes at COD. I find that I learn better when I have hands-on, practical lessons rather than lectures/theoretical stuff. I might not have gone to Harvard, but I like to think that I make a positive difference in my profession and personal life, people respect me, and all that good stuff. But hey, that's just me. If you're more of a Harvard person, good for you. As long as can back up what you say, do what you need to do, and act responsibly and respectfully, you're good in my book. :)

Anonymous said...

This is an important meeting to listen to if you want to catch up with current status of various issues and the BOE's stance on those issues. Basically meeting boils down to this:

First 20 minutes are public comment

Next hour plus is discussion of data regarding student growth and perfomance including specific groups of students such as high achievers and IEP students for example. This section also includes a discussion of the results of the survey the district distributed to parents, community members and employees.

Followed by approx 30 minutes regarding facilities.

Followed by approx 25 minutes of discussion about the release of directory information to the pro HMS citizens group and what district policy should be regarding release of such information going forward.

That took 3 hours. I have not listened to the rest yet. I am assuming the bulk of the remaining two hours will be the learning committee discussion regarding math etc. If anyone else can break those two hours down...please do.

Anonymous said...

From about hour 3:10 to 4:05 is a discussion of the math trajectory and BOE's directive that the district continue with the goal of a group of children who qualify having equal oppotunity at ALL the elementary schools to finish 6th grade math by 5th grade. .

I thought the board members were very forceful in expressing their criticism of both the progress made and the fact that they were still having this discussion at all.

Anonymous said...

Under the old math system approximately 25% of middle schoolers were in the accelerated track. This was true at both HMS and CHMS and was confirmed by Ruben Pena at a BOE meeting last year. 1/3 is a great goal but probably too many kids for this type of really advanced class which moves at a very fast pace and compacts/skips a significant amount of material. Last year there were over 35% of 6th graders in the accelerated math track because of opt-ins and lowered ID scores, and the range of ability levels in the class was way too great for it to be taught effectively and at the pace it had been in the past. The middle school teachers rightly requested that the MAP identification scores be raised to what they had been in the past. I do not know how many students there were in the Advanced and Grade Level classes there were but my guess is that the remaining 75% of students were split equally between the 2.

Anonymous said...

This is 8:49 again. Although there there were/are only 25% of students in the accelerated group at the middle school, there were up to 50% who were accelerated a grade in 3rd grade, depending on the composition of the grade in re: ability and the number of sections available. Teachers would differentiate within those "tiers". I believe this is the approx. 30% the BOE is referring to. In 6th grade, students are grouped into one of 3 differentiated groups which has always met the needs of most students.

Angry Parent said...

I've listened to the tape and have to agree with all the comments that suggest that White should be fired. How dare he release all the student information to a political group? But worse than doing that was his dance around, excuse making and attempted justification. Why didn't he just say -- I AM SORRY. I MADE A HORRIBLE MISTAKE. I GOT BAD LEGAL ADVICE,

Instead, his "logic" made him conclude he should release the information?????? And what's with his use of the word "journey" to describe how he mishandled this mess? Is he for real?

Fire him and fire the law firm. If the BOE doesn't do that, they should also be thrown out of office.

The Parents said...

2:09: We couldn't agree with you more.

Anonymous said...

Since I am a pack rat, I keep everything. I found an old document from when the gifted program was first put into place, even before Moon was here. It showed in math at the middle school, 20% of the students were in accelerated, 60% were in advanced, and 20% were in standard. Those were the days when we had a learning department that knew what they were doing and everything was clear and transparent. My child and everyone we knew did very well with that model, and that shows 80% of our students were accelerated at least one year, but not everyone as in past disasters, and certainly many more than the 5% they are saying is appropriate now. I don't think our children have gotten less intelligent as time has passed by.

I even have an old letter that told me my child's test scores (in math and reading), what scores were required to get into the different levels of programs, and what programs my child was assigned. Then it gave you directions to follow if you wished to appeal the placements.

Imagine that, first we got all the data and what was used to determine placement. Then if I had concerns, someone listened to me and retested my child. Now, I have no idea how anyone is being chosen, and the 2 standard deviations is all we are given, which as was very intelligently shared at the last board meeting is simply ridiculous. I am so grateful my children are almost through high school now.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Angry Parent at 2:09. Dr. White and his DOL have taken us all on a journey into the absurd.....all funded by the residents of 181. They have chartered the jet, ordered the champagne, and think that we will continue to drink the Kool Aid they have been giving us for years. He and D181's defense attorney are the only ones who have benefitted from his ineptitude. Has anyone on the board ever checked to see what the legal bills are for administrators in districts similar to ours? How much do Western Springs and Oak Brook pay their attorney? By causing and creating so many problems for students and teachers in our district, the school's attorney seems to be securing a steady flow of income for herself. This is not only obscene, and unethical, it is illegal because taxpayers are footing the bill.

If our administrators knew what they were doing in the first place, and understood that the truth, following through with their word, and communicating honestly on their part would prevent legal problems from occurring in the first place, our children would be better served, our taxes would be lower, and the entire culture of our schools would improve.

Think about the consultant the district paid to speak about the results of the ECRA survey at Monday's board meeting. It was yet another example of not only how out of touch the district truly is, but how selective they are in presenting information to us. Although about 10 parents blasted the administration during public comment, right in front of the administration and the ECRA woman, she proceeded to claim that survey results showed that people in the community were happy in their survey! The fact that she had 10 parents, currently with children in the district, complaining about D181's performance and actions did not seem to make any impact on her. Instead, she only talked about the 1000 residents who were NOT asked about any specific experiences in the last 3 -5 years as parents in the district. The population she talked about were not parents who regularly attend or listen to board meetings. In fact, most of those people in that survey had no idea of how the curriculum and programming in D181 has even changed in the last 3 years. Yet, their irrelevant comments were presented as fact by ECRA and the administration that children in 181 are still better off than parents in other parts of Illinois. No kidding? She even had the nerve make a blanket statement of, "We are among the best districts in the US." Based on what? Compared to whom? We PAID someone to tell us the obvious - that children in well off, suburban, wealthy areas score higher than children in poor urban areas?

Meanwhile when well spoken, educated parents of current children made the effort of coming to a Board Meeting to publicly tell all about their unhappiness with the admin's actions over the last 2 - 3 years, including the elimination the gifted program, was ignored by the ECRA consultant. Hmm.... do you think the ECRA people even bothered to ask any of the parents any questions that might get some negative, or even mixed feedback? Of course not. One of the parents who spoke was a child psychologist who is even on the Learning Committee, and therefore, has a pretty solid understanding of what the administration SAID they would to, and was able to contrast it to what the administration ACTUALLY did. This is significant. Especially since this mother was not paid to go speak on behalf of the district. She also is a stakeholder in the community because she owns a home and is concerned about property values. More importantly, she and her neighbors children in this district are now experiencing the negative results of the poorly conceived administrative decisions. White and his administration need to go. Now. We have given them enough chances but their time is up. Our children will never get these lost years back and we are all Angry Parents.

Angry Parent 2

Anonymous said...

I was at one of the ECRA focus group meetings and most of the parents in the group slammed the DOL and the curriculum changes of the past years. Whatever happened to that feedback? They were all parents I had never seen at a Board Meeting and many had younger children.

Anonymous said...

Darn it. I didn't win Poweball. Can't afford to pull my kids out of 181 yet.

Anonymous said...

9:53: To use some of the terminology that is commonly used these days by the D181 administrators, no doubt what happened was that the administration took the comments collected at the focus group meetings, "triangulated" them with the data collected in the online survey, then had a multitude of "conversations" regarding the data during their "journey" to come up with a strategic plan, which led them to make some "logic" conclusions about the data -- conclusions which of course are clearly flawed and make no sense. What else would you expect? This is par for the course.

Anonymous said...

9:53: Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

10:20 pm: I'm with you. Even if we only matched 4 numbers, we would have been out of district 181 schools. It would have been homeschooling with a tutor or a private school--anything but district 181.

How long do we have to fill out surveys, attend focus groups, complain to the principals & teachers, and attend board meetings before something changes?

Anonymous said...

All progress starts with voting down the HMS rebuild. We need to get the attention of the D181 Board and administration that the status quo is not acceptable. Yes, we eventually need a new HMS, sooner rather than later. I am also not in favor of $11 million of stop gap improvements on a clearly deficient building. No doubt the pro referendum crowd will be throwing that in our faces and email in boxes.

Fire the admin staff. Fix the curricula. Give the architects and builders very clear direction and a firm budget ( Hint: we tell them what we can afford, we don't let them come back to us with wild dreams and crazy budgets). Then we build the new HMS in an orderly fashion. This administration cannot oversee the curriculum changes AND build a new school. The competence and trust is simply not there.

I am encouraged by the last board meeting where there was some very clear pushback to Dr. White. Maybe the data breach was the wake up call the board majority needed.

Anonymous said...

With my Wall Street background, I understand, Trump Jr. said it best and relates to D181, "Current leaders wouldn't last 5 minutes in real companies." It's sad, but shareholders would have fired them long ago.

Anonymous said...

The Administrative summary of Monday's meeting has been emailed to parents.

As expected, it is a total sham. While there is brief reference to the board's discussion on the the Release of Information issue and the Math Trajectory discussion, there is absolutely no indication that any board member criticized the administration on either important topic. When a MAJORITY of the BOE slams the administration and demands that they follow board directives (on math) and reverse course on a sloppy/shoddy decision to release student information en mass to a political organization, this should appear in the summary. In my opinion, the fact that it is glaringly absent proves once and for all that the Administration wants to keep the community in the dark. For goodness sakes, this was a five hour meeting. Parents might actually go to the podcast and listen if they learned that there were actual concerns raised by their elected officials. Keeping us all in the dark continues to be par for the course.....

Anonymous said...

It is really sad that D181 has no gifted program. I came across the following Freedom of Information Act Request dated 1/11/16 and the District response dated 1/14/16.

The question was, "Does D181 have a Formal Gifted Program?" If the answer was Yes, there were additional questions. Sadly, the answer was that the District does not have a formal gifted program and then provided one document regarding the District's vision for Advanced Learning that the board approved in May 2012. How pathetic that nothing else was produced. How about Dr. W's Seminal Document? How about the "road map" that past board members kept asking for? Oh, right. They DON'T exist and any trajectories that were previously presented have changed so many times they are no longer recognizable.

Anonymous said...

Found this article on Facebook. I hope HMS doesn't turn into this kind of building.

Anonymous said...

When Doc White decided he needed to check with an attorney about releasing our personal information, that little voice in his head should have told him it was a bad idea.

Since when is bad legal advice an excuse? If you are in a position of authority, you need to be able to assess the advice you get, make reasonable decisions and take the blame if you occasionally make a bad decision.

How much are the taxpayers in D181 paying for legal advice?

A school district's lawyer doesn't represent the administration, he or she represents the school district. If Doc White is using this lawyer as his personal lawyer so he can get his wants and needs met, there's a big problem. We need a new lawyer to represent the district not a self-serving superintendent.

Even if what Doc White did was legal, it is the lawyer's job to tell him that it's not a good idea and why.

Hey does anyone remember the old days when school administrators used to send the school district's lawyer to property tax hearings to fight against the residents who were trying to get their taxes reduced? Have we come full circle? Why are we letting the school's lawyer fight against the residents he should be protecting?

Anonymous said...

I am amused that parents are fired up about the email issue and the building issue.

Those are side shows. The main event is the DOL cheating students in D181 out of a good education. Now they have basically given the BOE the finger when they were instructed to reinstate the old structure.

New buildings and email issues really do not matter in comparison. Fix the curriculum. That will impact these kids for a lifetime.

Wake up BOE, wake up!

Anonymous said...

12:15, I totally agree. Has anyone followed up on what is going on in 6th grade math? And, what about this year's 5th graders? I heard that none of them were going to finish the 5th grade materials this year and that they would finish them in middle school. Does anyone have a 5th grader who can verify if this is what parents have been told and what is happening in that grade?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have a 5th grader. At Curriculum Night, they admitted that our children were going to have to backtrack in math because many didn't know their math facts etc.

I don't understand why it took until 5th grade for the administration and teachers to realize this.

Isn't it their job to know this and then to teach?

Anonymous said...

12:15 I think the issue of the people being fired up over the building issue is pretty easy to understand. They see the waste and absurdity of the plan. For example, why a two-story building when you know every yd of dirt you excavate is going to cost a fortune to remediate ( building footprint 150% as large), heating and cooling that much more expensive, the design basis of the school being wrong (900 students at 85% capacity as opposed to 800), etc. The math issue, this is new information to the majority of the taxpayers who no longer have children in the district. The BOT members really are not leaders, they just want to be on a board for their resumes. Look at their actions, they are unwilling to lead. Pretty sad situation. The fact that they gave out the addresses of every parent in the district so the pro-referendum crowd can direct mail is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Back in the good old days of the 1960s, we learned math facts in 3rd grade. While we watched dinosaurs play outside, we memorized multiplication and division tables to the extent that it truly became second nature. We learned fractions, decimals, percentages, etc. well before 5th grade. It is beyond shocking that our children heading into middle school are this far behind.

My children that went through D 181 15-20 years ago learned math facts in 2nd grade, so I thought that was a nice sign of progress. It seemed like my kids learned everything about a year or so earlier than I did. My kids were bright, but not 2 standard deviations above the norm. They took algebra in 8th grade and passed AP calculus in high school at Central. I truly believe they received good educations from D181 and D86.

Math facts cannot be learned in teams. There is no "learning process". Technically our little darlings can look up 11 times 12 on their smartphones, but it is so much better for your brain to actually have some knowledge inside. It is called memorization and it is really not that hard. In education circles today, rote memorization is not politically correct. I am sure that many of us have seen the common core materials that emphasize process over facts.

I hope my doctor has certain facts memorized. I hope airline pilots have certain things memorized.

I simply cannot believe that we have let our schools decline to this state.

Anonymous said...

Hi 11:48 am this is 12:15 am

"I think the issue of the people being fired up over the building issue is pretty easy to understand." "The math issue, this is new information to the majority of the taxpayers who no longer have children in the district."

I hear what you are saying conceptually, I don't want to waste money on a building either. However, what matters 10x more to me is what happens inside the building.

A small handful of highly educated community members have been screaming from the mountain tops for the last few years that the DOL is working to level out math education for all students by dismantling the advanced classes to slow down the best students, instead of doing a better job helping the bottom half of the class keep up. It seemed that very few people were listening or concerned about the damage being done to the students. I really did not understand why so few people seemed to care. Or maybe they got confused by the DOL (I think of this as Department of Lies) smoke and mirrors. Fortunately, even people fooled by the double talk and promises can see what is now happening to test scores. Unfortunately, making up lost ground in math is more difficult than in other subjects.

Anonymous said...

To me the worst thing about the entire math situation is that d181 had a solid math pipeline that delivered students to d86 with enough knowledge to be successful in high school and become engineers, scientists, etc. While it is true that there were issues with how certain students were assigned (or misaligned) to math groups that were not always handled in the best way, the system worked pretty well over all, and much better than most districts.

Then, instead of fixing the issues that existed, the DOL dismantled the existing system, and hopped on this controversial and unproven, "teach them all in the same class" EduFad, based largely on a youtube video (yes, really), without any real evidence that it would work in a district like ours, and without staff who had the experience and knowledge to make it work in our district.

For parents whose livelihood depends on a knowledge of advanced math, it was clear that this could not work from day one, and they did speak up. Unfortunately, the rest of the community could not see that. Many of the initially concerned parents have quietly supplemented their kids math, and those kids know what they need to know to move ahead. It is the rest of the students that are now behind and being forced to pay the price. It will become even more obvious in a couple more years, when this cohort begins high school and very few of its students are ready for Algebra II/Trig.

That is an especially big issue because in other districts parents are demanding stronger math curriculums because the significant majority of the best jobs for college graduates are in STEM fields. If it is not fixed, the impacted cohorts will not have the college and career opportunities that the cohorts before them had. Unless your family is wealthy, that is a big problem.

Please attend the BOE meetings. Please stop buying the gibberish that comes from the mouths of the DOL. Stop believing them because they have some degree. I would bet that no one in the DOL can take the final exam for the current middle school Algebra and Geometry courses and even get a B. If that is true, how can they design an effective curriculum to meet the needs of students in a subject they know very little about?

Anonymous said...

11:48, I believe the reason why HMS is only 2 stories above ground, compared to CHMS' 3, is because Hinsdale has an ordinance saying saying any new buildings can only be 2 stories above ground at most. According to the designs posted on BoardDocs, HMS does have a 3rd floor below ground. It houses the music classrooms, custodial room, district data center, and gym locker rooms (even though the gym is on a different floor).

3:21, I totally agree that what happens in the school is way for important than the school itself. While I think HMS has its problems and inefficiencies, we have bigger fish to fry with the curriculum and the administration's handling of it.

2:16: I agree, students should have some facts memorized. I'd like kids to learn how to figure out a tip on a bill in their heads. I want them how to spell and use proper grammar so they can communicate with other people, etc. We also need to teach them how to problem solve, be creative. I've seen too many kids nowadays (and even some adults) who take a single, blank look at something and just say "It doesn't work." Then someone else has to come over and do something really stupid like press the only button on the device or whatever. So many people lack even the most basic critical and analytical thinking skills. Everyone's so coddled and taken care of, they can't function on their own.

Anonymous said...

2;16, you would also be shocked to know that students in elementary school don't have spelling tests any more. They study words in class and then occasionally have a "check-in". Evidently spelling tests, in addition to memorizing math facts, was too stressful and anti-SELAS. Luckily they pick back up again in 6th grade where students are thrown to the wolves because middle school and high school is still more like the real world - where math facts and memorized spelling words matter.

Anonymous said...

4:18, back in the 2000s, our children, bright ( not "gifted" ) learned 10 words a day, 50 WORDS A WEEK. spelling, definition, how to use it in a sentence. A test every Friday. That's how so many of those children scored high on their ACT, passed numerous AP classes and got into their choice of good colleges. The children had strong vocabularies and they were encouraged to read and write. No computers, no tablets. They had way too much homework, much of it busy work, but we never felt learning vocabulary was busy work.

4:08, there is a story and height requirement for residential and commercial buildings in the central downtown area. There are also established procedures for obtaining variances, if desired. To my knowledge, a proposed height variation has never been formally discussed with the village. Since I advocate we toss this design in the trash and start over, that would be one of the things to look at when they slow it down and do it right. The roof, plumbing, foundation, HVAC, etc. can be spread over 3 floors instead of two. The village will never approve a 60 foot building with turrets and parapets, but the right design, with the right setbacks and sight lines might fly. They won't know until they ask.