Saturday, May 14, 2016

Are Nine Years of D181's MAP Student Growth Summary Reports Invalid? Are the Reports D181 has Relied Upon "MISLEADING" and do they "MISREPRESENT" the Growth Summary Data?

We begin this post by copying from our last one a statement made by Dr. Larson at the May 9, 2016 BOE meeting.  As you may recall, BOE members expressed concern over the Growth Summary data for the Fall 2015 to Spring 2016 MAP data.

In response, Dr. Larson stated that the results "misrepresent the total percentage of students who are meeting growth goals and there's a long explanation to it but I just happened to find it out by going through the data set and coming across a discrepancy and so when I contacted NWEA they said 'yeah that is a discrepancy' and they are actually looking into doing some revision work with their growth summary reports because there are people who are complaining about that -- it's misleading.  But again, I would need all the visuals to really explain it more thoroughly."  (5/9/2016 Meeting Podcast, Counter 2:10:21.)

Over the last few days, as we awaited the posting on Board Docs of the Learning Committee agenda and related documents for its May 16, 2016 meeting, we decided to compile D181's MAP growth summary data for prior years.  With a little digging, we found the MAP Growth Summary Data for 2006-2016 on the D181 website and Board Docs.  Below is a chart we prepared from the Growth Summary data reports NWEA created for D181 beginning with 2006 - 2007 school year and from which former administrators created Board Reports and D181 schools developed their School Improvement Plans.

The following chart*** shows (or so we have always been led to believe) the % of students who met their Growth Targets in Math and Reading since the 2006-2007 School Year.  Each of the NWEA Growth Summary Reports and Board Reports/Powerpoint (created by D181 Administrators) that we used to create this master chart have columns or spreadsheet charts that purport to show the % of students meeting their growth projection. Until Dr. Larson's declaration (at the May 9 BOE meeting) that the 2015-2016 NWEA Growth Summary Reports "MISREPRESENT" this information, no one (to our knowledge) in the D181 Administration (past or present) had EVER made such a suggestion.

As we awaited Dr. Larson's explanation of the mysterious "DISCREPANCY" that she claimed would show how the reports NWEA created for D181 "MISREPRESENTED" the growth data, we were curious to see if past reports were different than the 2015-2016 reports published on Board Docs for the May 9 Board meeting.  The links to the sources are at the conclusion of this post, for anyone who wants to see the actual reports.  While we are not statisticians, in our lay opinion, we do not see that NWEA did anything substantially or significantly different in the 2016 Spring Reports showing Fall 2015 to Spring 2016 student growth from it's past reports.  (We understand that NWEA updated its NORMS in 2015, as it does every four or five years, but the format of the reports remained the same as in the past, other than adding a couple of new columns dealing with comparative data.)

This is important because whatever explanation Dr. Larson gives regarding the mysterious DISCREPANCY, she had better explain whether the DISCREPANCY existed in the past NWEA reports, potentially invalidating the reported results since 2006 that D181 administrators have relied upon and represented to multiple BOE's.

What follows is the chart we have created for each grade level, and in our lay opinion, it shows that student performance has declined dramatically over the years -- in particular in Math -- and this year is the worst year in the last five years for a majority of the schools, regardless of the grade level (as highlighted in RED).

Grade 2 -- MATH  (Note:  Second Graders began taking MAP test in the Fall 2013.)
Year                  District     Elm       Madison      Monroe      Oak      Prospect     The Lane     Walker        
2013-2014           55.1        32.6           46.3            65.7         55.8         64.4             60.4           53.2
2014-2015           64.4        73.2           63.1            40.3         55.6         74.3             69.2           80.6
2015-2016           37           31              44               32            38            26                51              36

Grade 2 -- READING (Note:  Second Graders began taking MAP test in the Fall 2013.)

Year                  District     Elm       Madison      Monroe      Oak      Prospect     The Lane     Walker
2013-2014          39.8         58.7           37               22.9         46.5         40.7             45.3           36.2
2014-2015          58.4         60.7           66.2            50.7         60            52.9             56.9           67.7  
2015-2016          47            38              56               31            68            53                41              49

Grade 3 -- MATH
Year                  District     Elm       Madison      Monroe      Oak      Prospect     The Lane     Walker
2006-2007           49.1         61.7          27.7           48.6           34.6      59.4              62.7           51.7
2007-2008           59.3         45.8          64.2           50.9           50         64.4              66.1           69.4
2008-2009           52.7         61             41.8           50              53.8      58.1              54.2           55.6
2009-2010           62.9         59             55.7           56.6           55.2      73.9              71.6           68.2
2010-2011           56.3          68.2         51.2           55.3           50         61.8              52.1           60
2011-2012           55.7          46.8         63.2           53.8           69.6      57.5              44.3           55
2012-2013           47.5          60            49.4           40              80          33.8             38.6           48.8
2013-2014           73.6          81.4         81.17         59.7           87          75                67.6           67.2
2014-2015           65.8          72            78.2           61.3           90          50.9             56.1           60.4
2015-2016           37             44             41             28              58          28                40              19

Grade 3 -- READING

Year                  District     Elm       Madison      Monroe      Oak      Prospect     The Lane     Walker
2006-2007           45.6         61.7         52.2            40.5         28.8         35.4             59              40
2007-2008           52.3         41.7         50               60.4         58.3         45.8             59.7           51
2008-2009           47.2         56.1         51.9            38.1         53.8          36               54.2           47.6
2009-2010           55.6         66.7         47.1            56.2         58.6          56.5            60.6           45.5
2010-2011           40.2         59.1          31              34.2         35.9          35.3            38.4            63
2011-2012           51.8         44.7          64.7           43.1         58.7          45.9            41               65
2012-2013           49.9         45.7          55.8           45            75.6          37.5            44.6            54.8
2013-2014           58            58.6          65              43.5          63            62.5            59.7            54.8
2014-2015           56.6         63.3          56.4           62.2          60            56.4            54.4            41.7         
2015-2016           47            50             52              43             60            48               41               42

Grade 4 -- MATH

Year                  District     Elm       Madison      Monroe      Oak      Prospect     The Lane     Walker
2006-2007            45.6         56.3          63.3          36.7          51.9        41                25              52.3
2007-2008            57.6         62.7          58.8          64             63.2        49.3             45.8           57.6
2008-2009            51.1         64             45.3          55.9          57.1        40.5             50.8           50
2009-2010            57.8         59.6          61.4          56.8          67.2        54.5             50              55.4
2010-2011            50.3         36.6          59.2          57.1          54.4        44.3             34.4           62.5
2011-2012            49.6         55.3          36.8          50              69.6       55.6             44              46.8
2012-2013            53.8         45.7          55.4          54.3           51          63.6             48.4           53.1
2013-2014            59.4         47.8          59.7          57.8           45.5        76.5             64.1          47.6
2014-2015            59.7         44.4          68.3          43.5           65.1        72.7             50             77.2
2015-2016            41            45             43             28              59           51                23             41

Grade 4 -- READING

Year                  District     Elm       Madison      Monroe      Oak      Prospect     The Lane     Walker
2006-2007           52            56.3         62.5            41.7         53.7         43.4             50              59.1
2007-2008           57.2         50.9         50               53.9         60.3         51.6             63.8           71.7
2008-2009           47.6         57.1         43.8            35.6         44.9         48.6             53.8           50
2009-2010           58.2         67.4         57.8            47.1         56.3         61                50              73.4
2010-2011           48.4         43.9         52               41            56.1         57.7             37.5           50
2011-2012           57.6         61.7         56.3            51.3         55.6         59.7             52              74.5
2012-2013           53.5         54.3         50               40             49           66.2             53.1           60.3 
2013-2014           60.4         54.3         64.9            49.4          60.5        78.8             52.4           54.8
2014-2015           59            54            61.9            51.6          62.8        60.6             60.3           63.2
2015-2016           47            45            37               35             59           70                48              45

Grade 5 -- MATH
Year                  District     Elm       Madison      Monroe      Oak      Prospect     The Lane     Walker
2006-2007            57.6       52.5         52.2            48.7           71.7         54,8            55.6           68.9
2007-2008            60          70.8         61.6            50.8           56.1         52.9            58.7           77.8
2008-2009            57.7       62.3         54.7            53.2           52.2         50               54.5           80.3
2009-2010            54.7       50            50               47.4           72            55.1            48.5           64.2
2010-2011            57.8       54.2         50               60.7           64.6         55.7            61.7           58.8
2011-2012            55.4       50            44.9            46.8           70.5         53.2            37.5           74.5
2012-2013            55.4       59.6         59.1            52.6           68.8         50               48.1           55.1                        
2013-2014            53.1       59.6         50.8            48.6           76.5         57.1            41.9           41.9
2014-2015            55.8       57.7         46.9            58              68.2         48.8            55.1           69
2015-2016            37          52            50               38              46            37               29              26      

Grade 5 -- READING

Year                  District     Elm       Madison      Monroe      Oak      Prospect     The Lane     Walker
2006-2007            50.1       52.5         38.8            48.7          46.8          50.8            55.6           59
2007-2008            54.9       64.6         48.6            49.2          40.4          66.7            50.8           64.4
2008-2009            52.4       60.7         60               51.3          48.5          38.2            49.1           59
2009-2010            55.4        61.5        57.4            45.6          59.2          40.3            52.9           79.2  
2010-2011            55.7        64.6        44.2            58              58.1         58.2            60              52.2
2011-2012            59.2        50           56.4            54.4           60.7         66.2            60.9           64.7
2012-2013            53.5        51.9        55.7            59              57.4         49.3            48.1           53.1    
2013-2014            59.5        53.8        57.1            55.7           74.5         64.5            58.1           54
2014-2015            64.1        71.2        56.8            63              73.8         64.3            62.3           64.3
2015-2016            51           54           52               44              54            56               47              47

Grade 6 -- MATH (Note: Only targeted students at the middle schools took MAP in 08-09.)

Year                  District     CHMS       HMS
2006-2007          NA           NA             NA
2007-2008          44.7         44.6            44.7
2008-2009          62            60.5            63.6
2009-2010          47.1         40.6            52.5
2010-2011          51.3         47.9            54
2011-2012          46.5         46.1            46.8
2012-2013          48.4         48.8            48
2013-2014          43.4         48.1            39.8
2014-2015          50.3         50.5            50.2
2015-2016          36            40               33 

Grade 6 -- READING (Note: Only targeted students at the middle school took MAP in 08-09.)

Year                  District     CHMS       HMS
2006-2007          NA           NA            NA
2007-2008          47.4          47.6          47.1
2008-2009          56.7          56.4          56.9
2009-2010          51.4          55.4          48.1
2010-2011          52.2          46.6          56.7
2011-2012          53.7          53             54.3
2012-2013          56.2          52.7          59.1
2013-2014          54.9          58.3          52.4
2014-2015          59.3          59.3          59.4
2015-2016          56             56             55

Grade 7 -- MATH 
(Note: Only targeted students at the middle school took MAP in 08-09.)
Year                  District     CHMS       HMS
2006-2007          NA           NA            NA
2007-2008          44             43.2          45.3    
2008-2009          52.4          48.9          61.1          
2009-2010          57.6          57             58.1
2010-2011          56.8          50.9          61.6
2011-2012          48.1          51.6          45.5
2012-2013          51.8          51.1          52.4
2013-2014          51.6          48.5          54
2014-2015          58.7          56.2          60.6
2015-2016          45             52             37

Grade 7 -- READING 
(Note: Only targeted students at the middle school took MAP in 08-09.)
Year                  District     CHMS       HMS
2006-2007           NA           NA             NA
2007-2008           54.3          53.7           55.2
2008-2009           68.4          66.7           71
2009-2010           55.3          56.3           54.5
2010-2011           59.8          64.8           55.6
2011-2012           52.4          54.3           51
2012-2013           51.3          48.1           54
2013-2014           55.5          58.6           53.1
2014-2015           54.2          62.1           48.4
2015-2016           50             48              51 

Grade 8 -- MATH (Prior to Fall 2013, 8th graders did not take the MAP test.)

Year                  District     CHMS       HMS             
2013-2014           47.1          47.5           46.8
2014-2015           52.5          52.5           52.4
2015-2016           26             30              27

Grade 8 -- READING (Prior to Fall 2013, 8th graders did not take the MAP test.)

Year                  District     CHMS       HMS
2013-2014           39.2          37.6           40.7
2014-2015           46.2          53.7           40.6
2015-2016           33             27              38

Recall, as we explained our last post, in 2013 Dr. Russell insisted that NWEA expected that high
achieving school districts didn't need to have 70% of its students meeting their growth projections and only needed 50 to 60% meeting the projected growth targets. Following this, the D181 BOE established a committee to set the student performance goals it wanted students to achieve and the goal subsequently incorporated the school improvement plans was that at least 55% of students would meet their projected growth targets.

Looking at the data from earlier years, one must wonder why D181's administrators thought it appropriate to water down the expectations from 70% to 55%.  Looking at the data from earlier years, there were many grades and schools that had significantly MORE than 55% of their students meeting their MAP growth targets.  In fact, in the early years, many schools and grades had more than 60% or 65% or 70% and some had even greater percentage of students meeting their growth targets.

So what happened?  Rather than continue to aspire to have more schools have 70% of students meeting their growth targets, D181 administrators lowered the bar to 55%.  And now we can see that this goal has not been achieved.  Not even close in math!

Now as we were completing this post, Dr. Larson's report for Monday's Learning Committee meeting was posted to Board Docs.  It can be accessed at:$file/Spring%20MAP%20Analysis%20FINAL.pdf.

Her PowerPoint presentation, while only giving District Wide data and not giving individual school/grade level data, purports to suggest that the column in the Fall 2015 to Spring 2016 NWEA Growth Summary Reports that shows the Percentage of Students who met their Projected Growth does not include all of the individual students who actually met their growth targets.  Dr. Larson has instead created a chart found on SLIDE #3 that shows a new column with a much higher percentage for each DISTRICT WIDE GRADE LEVEL.

We are not going to even begin to attempt to guess how she came up with this new column. There is no narrative report for community members, committee members or BOE members to read with a written explanation of what she has created.  Moreover, there is no School by School, Grade by Grade analysis (at least not as of the time this blog post was published).

We will have to wait and listen to the Learning Committee meeting on Monday, May 16, 2016, to see if she provides an explanation that makes any sense at all and provides a COMPLETE school by school/grade by grade analysis.  At this point, the entire community has a right to expect not just a full explanation of Dr. Larson's creation, but also a full explanation of whether or not the "DISCREPANCY" that Dr. Larson is claiming exists in the 2015-2016 Reports was also present in any of the past MAP Growth Summary Reports D181 has been using and relying upon since 2006.

Has Dr. Larson taken the time to analyze every one of those past 9 years of reports to determine if they too "MISREPRESENT" student performance results?  If in fact it turns out that Dr. Larson has discovered a discrepancy that essentially invalidates all of the prior reports prepared by NWEA, what does that mean for D181?  Let's not forget that the district has probably spent close to $100,000 on the NWEA MAP assessments and reports over the last 9 years.  Can Dr. Larson say with certainty whether or not any or perhaps all of those reports "MISREPRESENTED" the actual Growth Summary data for the thousands and thousands of students who have taken the test over the last 9 years?  Is it possible that for 9 years, D181 administrators, Board Members, Parents, Teachers and most importantly Students have been "MISLED?"

If the reports "MISREPRESENTED" the percentage of students who met their growth target, what impact did it have on the School Improvement plans or any other Curriculum decisions or Placement Criteria developed as a result of the MAP data?

These are just some of the questions that we expect the Learning Committee, and subsequently the BOE, to ask and demand answers to from Dr. Larson.

We can't wait to hear if these questions and others are asked at the May 16 Learning Committee Meeting or May 23 BOE meeting and how Dr. Larson answers them.

So STAY TUNED, and in the meantime, SOUND OFF!


*** Sources of the MAP data:;;$file/MAP_Student_Growth_Summary_Report_F14_to_S15_District.pdf;$file/2013%20Spring%20MAP%20Assessment_6_10_13.pdf;;;$file/2015_06_08_MAP_Fall_to_Spring_Report_to_BOE_All_Slides.pdf;$file/2015-2016%20Fall-Spring%20Growth%20Summary%20Reports%20-%20District.pdf;$file/2015-2016%20Fall-Spring%20Growth%20Summary%20Reports%20-%20Schools.pdf


Anonymous said...

The dropping MAP scores need to be forwarded to the administrators, board, and counselors at Hinsdale Central. This drop will warrants the creation of more remedial and support classes for 181 students who attend high school in the next few years. Our children will be at a distinct disadvantage from the children from Oak Brook, whose scores have been steadily rising the last few years. Why are Butler Students thriving in their environment while CHMS and HMS students are tanking? HCHS needs to know about these dismal scores for their upcoming summer school session. Our children appear to have gaps in their learning that their high school classmates will not have. These classes should be paid for compliments of D181.

It is unfathomable that D181, a K-8 school district which single handedly uses 93% of residents' property taxes, cannot comprehend that the community is furious that the educational quality of our schools has quantitatively dropped for the NINTH year in a row. Nine years is not "a snapshot in time". It is a nine year, scientific documentary that would be a fabulous doctoral thesis for the next superintendent of our district to explore. Since we are paying for the PhD's, why shouldn't the topic be one that pertains to us? All of the school districts across the country take the same MAP test. Why are children from Western Springs, Oak Brook, and Riverside gaining ground on MAP, while our children are tanking? Why are the children in other parts of Illinois thriving and experiencing growth on these tests, why our children are not? We are not a cash strapped district plagued with non-English speaking students and illiterate parents. Our teachers have advanced degrees that we fund. Our children are burdened with hours of homework a day and parents regularly hire tutors. Something is very wrong with the leadership of 181. A true leader would focus on THESE problems, not tearing down and rebuilding a 40 year old middle school.

Parents, teachers, and board members: spending $65 million on the PHYSICAL aspects of a new school will NEVER improve the scores or student LEARNING. What proof do you have that it will? If anything, the continuing focus of the administration and Board on building a new school, the digital initiative, and the failed Learning for All plan the last 5 years all have detracted from the quality of learning. Nine years of dropping MAP, ISATS, and PARCC do not lie. Parents complaining that their children suddenly cannot do their homework independently is significant. HMS was an ugly, poorly designed school 40 years ago. We have had many superintendents and board presidents over the history of this district, yet there has never been such a striking, continuous, decline in student scores. The current focus of the district must change from structural and architectural aspects to investigating the traits and qualities that define schools whose MAP scores have NOT dropped. Do successful middle schools have 800 - 1000 students in them? Do schools with MAP growth offer more professional development for teachers? Or longer school days? WHAT are highly performing districts spending their time and money on? It would benefit the district to analyze data like this rather than continue to survey local residents about their preferences on the design of a new school.

Elm Parent said...

I completely agree with 10:20. The BOE should demand that the Administration put the brakes on any plans to go to 1 to 1 technology or to try a second time for an HMS referendum until it cleans up the mess that exists in all 9 schools and in the administration center. There is absolutely NO excuse for the downward trend in data. I don't care if Larson turns out to be correct. Even the data she has created isn't good enough. The district should reinstate the target that 70% or more of our students meet their MAP growth targets. Until they do, no more new dollars should be spent or taxed for. I hope that for once the administration realizes that it is time to stop the craziness and figure out exactly what is going on.

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the sentiments above. The reality is that people move here for the education. I have four young children. My oldest child is in 3rd grade and so my investment in D 181 is great. Since my 3rd grader joined the school system, we have had three principals; 2 math programs; 3 separate radically different criteria or lack of criteria for advanced placement in mathematics in the K-5 years; a SELAS initiative that still does not address bullying and social emotional learning at a building level as there are no consequences and no measures taken to address bullying at school, recess or lunch; a constant request for funding, additional tax dollars; more school fees; and an overall lack of academic growth in math and reading when measured on standardized tests.

I'm not sure why people move here for the education. Don't get me wrong-I dont think the education is so poor. I just don't think it is so great. We have more money, more volunteers, more donors, and more stuff. But our students are not getting smarter and our schools are not rigorous anymore. Move here for the neighborhood, the beautiful homes, the social scene-but I wouldn't move here because the schools are any better than our neighboring suburbs. At this juncture, I just don't think so.

Additionally, I'm wondering why the math placement criteria published on board docs looks to have such a low threshold. If 80th percentile is going to be the cut off for advanced paced mathematics, isn't that a HUGE range of student abilities in one classroom? To me, it sounds like once again they will be teaching to the middle group ignoring the students at either end of the spectrum. And what of the students 2 SD or 3 SD above their individual grade level mean? Will they be lumped in with these students who are in the 80th percentile or in some cases, 90th percentile for the grade level above and thus candidates for acceleration? I'm confused. And what about meaningful instruction? When are we going to STOP pigeon holing students and focus on teaching children to love learning, work hard, and be passionate about their work? Students and learners grow at different rates. Similarly, accountability for any acceleration or advanced track should be evident. Parents should not be given an option to adjust their child's placement down if they are struggling or holding a group back. If we are giving allowances like that, then we should grant allowances to my child who got passed up for an educational advanced opportunity at his home school simply because he wasn't identified as accelerated for math. According to many parents on the accelerated track, their kids were not performing and they still got passed through. Hmm.

And finally, the comments raised at the last BOE meeting I attended were disappointing. I don't want to hear from a District level professional that the countless hours of data analysis is just so much and very challenging. This is why administration salaries are so competitive and salaries as a whole in this district are more competitive than others. Most jobs today work 40 plus hours a week. Most jobs today have extra hours, after the work day, at home, during lunch, etc. I'm not advocating for work work work all the time. I'm just stating the truth. Life is hard. Work is hard. Sometimes, to get a job done you work a little harder and a little longer.

I hope that real change will happen but I'm not optimistic. This criteria seems to be teacher driven and heavily subjective.Why is increasing our rigor so difficult here? All the other neighboring kids and schools manage to accomplish "Raising the Bar". Just like most KG classrooms do kindergarten screening for all new registrants BEFORE school starts. That way, they hit the ground running. We just always seem to make everything harder here in D 181. Maybe that's why nothing ever gets done.

Anonymous said...

Well said, 3:43. Glad you touched on the bullying at the school level. What specifically is "respectful" behavior? Contrary to what some think, many children do not know. What is non-respectful behavior? When you elaborate, please pass this info on to PTOs and teachers so they can begin modeling this behavior. Teachers and principals, be specific and make sure kids know what you mean by respect by posting rules and passing out to parents. Make sure teachers are not expecting too much, or too little. Tape a copy of rules in their planners. Children can't read minds so you have to clearly lay the rules out for them. This is why children are at school - to learn academic as well as social skills.

Last year certain parents on the learning committee made blanket statements to the effect of "academics don't matter in elementay school - my children are only here for the socialization." People like this do not belong on the curriculum committee, they belong on the SELAS or party committee. No wonder our scores are dropping. If my child does not have basketball or volleyball skills, he does not get on the team. Same rules must apply to parents. Sure, a minority of parents feel that academics in school are irrelevant, but those parents do not deserve a leadership role on a district wide committee that helps develop curriculum, standards, and guidelines for our kids! Have those folks volunteer for yard duty or teaching social skills after school so they can contribute to something that better fits their skill set. Have them run Girl Scouts or sports activities after school. Don't put them in gargle of academics if they are not inclined to support education.

When I chaperone kids at class parties, field trips and at local sporting events, I don't particularly see stellar social behavior from D181 students. I see a great deal of cliques. And ridiculing. Not a lot of camaraderie. Teachers often ignore bad behavior instead of dealing with it or trying to figure out why it happened. There are children who are favorites and those who are outcasts. This is a huge problem. Some staff have the exact same behavioral expectations for children with very different skills and abilities. Or think humiliating or embarrassing children is a good way to discipline. From a child care professional or teacher, this is not okay. Our elementary school lunch person made a child who accidentally knocked his lunch over get the bucket and mop the floor in front of the entire lunch room. My child and her friends said it was the first time it had ever happened. Please cut the humiliation tactics, especially if there is no stated rule that says if a 3rd grader knocks his lunch over, he will be asked to mop himself in front of his peers. The child was probably mortified and sad enough before he pulled out the mop. Tell the parents. Maybe the child had an ear infection or he didn't sleep well the night before.
This is the only time our children get to attend elementary and middle school. Pease get it right. I completely agree that kids need to hit the ground running the first week of school. All summer was a huge party, so please don't have dance a thons or book fairs in September. This forces teachers trying to cram everything in during the spring testing season, when are kids have spring fever. Lengthen the school year if you have to in order to start making up for the horrible trials and experiments that our kids have been out through these last years.

When corporations profits fall, axes fall. Methods change. It's 3 strikes and you're out - not 9. Nine years is a long time for subpar results. Don't get me wrong, our district is not awful. It's, meh, but not really the value we have been paying these last 5 years. Kohl's quality at Neiman Marcus prices.

D181 Parent said...

I agree with all of the earlier comments. I have heard that teachers and administrators actually read this blog. Some will admit it, others will not. However, I hope that they are reading and realizing that parents are fed up. Teachers should be fed up with an administration that doesn't seem to have its act together and would rather focus on one capital project and 1 to 1 technology initiatives than on getting back to basics and bringing this district back to excellence.

If any teacher or administrator is reading this, I'd sure like to get your reaction to the last two posts. You don't have to give your name, but at least indicate that you work in D181. It would be nice to know that if any of you share the parents' concerns.

Anonymous said...

This is a completely fictional, mildly humorous dramatization of what I believe Dr. White would say in response to the suggestion posted above:

Dear Stakeholders in D181,
I think it's important that we all sit down and begin to have a conversation about what we might be able to do to address parent concerns over the last few years. Before we do that though, let me waste some more time by hiring consultants to conduct yet another $20,000 survey of innocuous questions and offer a prescribed set of guided answers. This way I will have some "community support" to justify whatever malarky I am about to discuss at the next board meeting. Good thing most of these people are at work at 7:00 pm on a Monday night and are too tired to hear what I say. Honesty, I can't believe why anyone would bother coming to my umpteenth community engagement meeting in the last 5 years since I will not give you any real information, nor will I allow any unscripted topics to be discussed. I get paid for these appearances though and they are great photo ops. My friend Pam loves quoting me in her paper. And I appreciate that she never seems to notice that I don't provide sources or references to any of the vague, general answers I give in the Hinsdalean. The people in this town are even more naive and trusting than I could have ever hoped. And D181 property taxes...what can I say? I hit the jackpot here. Much, much nicer than Troy. No one wants to be the squeaky wheel or appear uncouth here, so they pretty much give me cart blanche. And those who don't like the schools here have enough money to sell heir home at a loss and move. Or, just send their children to private school.
It would be my recommendation that parents continue to put all of their faith in me and the other professional doctors and continue to donate copious amounts of money to spend in questionable ways. By the time you figure out we have no idea what we were doing, I will have retired to the Carribean on my pension. What a bunch of low hanging fruit that live in this town.


"You can choose to work, or you can choose to dream. I choose the latter."

Anonymous said...

Let s stop the madness. Finally some research on the use of laptops in the doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

Read this too - 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12

Anonymous said...

The Washington Post article is very enlightening. Parents and administrators need to stop and think about what our children really need to be well educated. Clearly they don't need laptops to take notes. If writing notes by hand results in more learning, then why is our district not teaching handwriting or even printing? My children's printing & handwriting workbooks came home empty at the end of the year. Check what your elementary school students bring home in a few weeks. Kineisthetic movents like writing help integrate learning for all students. Our district should not overlook this basic skill. iPads and Laptops are not a panacea. If anything, they are preventing our children from developing attention skills and contributing to overstimulation. Multitasking has been proven to not work - especially for kids who need time and practice to learn skills.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 10:08: there's something about pen & paper for writing papers, and taking notes. Plus, what about projects? Here's an article about Hinsdale Central:

Funny thing, too, (I'm probably one of only a handful, I admit) I don't really learn well in lecture-based classes. While I went to a 4 year college and got a bachelors degree, I found that I learned better (or at least more eager) taking classes at College of DuPage. While there were some lectures & reading, they also had hands-on, practical, real life projects to work on. While I realize this is far harder to design, implement and grade, I found myself more interested in learning the materials that way rather than book/lecture-based teaching.

The Parents said...

12:30 pm and no podcast available from yesterday's D181 Learning Committee meeting. Could the Director of Communications please post it?

Anonymous said...

It just went up!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Larson mentioned looking at neighboring districts to see how they map curriculum, how they offer advanced and accelerated opportunities and what criteria they use. This is a link to a feeder district to HC. They seem to do a great, easy, efficient job and churn out a lot of top students. Perhaps this is a neighboring district we could study. Note how there is also accountability for performance measures too-something perhaps our district also needs to employ. If you don't perform, or you are unfairly passed thru year after year, then at some point you should also be meeting certain expectations. Accountability is universal.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

I am partway through listening to the learning committee meeting and I am struck by the irony of two sections of the conversation:

At minute 56 there is reference by Dr. Larson of how difficult it is to create criteria for advanced learning when the district has no philosophy or goal regarding what achievement we want for our gifted/advanced learners.

At minute 117, there is a discussion regarding the fact that the district does not have a set criteria for what constitutes a gifted learner nor the measurements in place to identify gifted learners, nor do we have a "gifted program" so we can only deal with advanced learners in our current capacity.

All those years ago when we paid Dr. Moon to evaluate our gifted/advanced learning program, remember what she said? Her general words were that we needed to decide which children we were servicing, we needed to have a mission statement and philosophy specific to those children and then we needed to figure out an identification system for those children. Instead we dismantled everything and ended up with Learning For All.

Now all these years later we are STILL discussing it and having to put all these things back in place. We are being told by Dr. Larson that it is hard for her to help these kids with no identification process for them and no philosophy of what to do with them....

What a mess!

Anonymous said...

I agree. The meeting was a waste of time for the board members and parents who listened. When all board members politely explained that there was not enough data or evidence to support the need for more technology, nor were enough specifics provided about HOW, WHY, WHERE and WHEN the technology would be used, Dr. White and Bridget kept claiming that the DATA was the information collected by the teacher's survey. Are they kidding?

Sorry Dr. White, D181 Digital Committee, and Bridget, but opinions made by unnamed teachers in open-ended surveys are not considered real "data". That information is a subjective opinion, especially when the survey was not created by people trained in collecting unbiased data. The opinions in the surveys were not correlated to any increase in grades or scores, nor was it corroborated by parents' opinions. Unbelievable that a committee of teachers and a school superintendent pretend to not understand this. This administration and committee fully understand what the BOE says - they just do not care. They have sent a message that D181 administrators will do whatever, whenever they want regardless of logic, cost, or community sentiment. The lack of preparation in their presentation is evidence of this.

The BOE and committee clearly explained why they could not support the initiative. But apparently Dr. White still does not get it. Not sure which woman spoke up and said that they felt everyone at the meeting was on the same page about the initiative. This was completely false! The BOE made it clear that the committee failed its task. How many times do they have to explain this to this group? They do not need to explain it any more. The plan was killed 2 years ago, but like zombies, this group keeps coming back to life to take up more time at district meetings. WE ARE DONE with this topic. The deadline passed. Do not "revisit this conversation" in September! It is not the responsibility of the BOE and this committee to beat their heads against the wall until this group finally understands the concept of acceptable, scientific data. Just say NO THANK YOU and move on to the real issues this district is facing. Even if there were no financial limitations, which there are, data is ALWAYS required to make logical decisions when it comes to government spending. The BOE, teachers, and administration have more important topics to discuss and make decisions on. Specifically, 1) Boost Math Scores 2) Boost Language Arts Scores. 3) Solve the population problems at the middle schools 4) Stop bleeding this community dry with property taxes until they can show us some positive results supported by scientific, nationally recognized data.

Anonymous said...

Who was it at that meeting who said it is a pain for children and teachers to share technology? Whatever happened to cooperative learning and communication? Or not creating a generation of spoiled, privileged children? Everyone in life needs to learn how to share, and we expect teachers to model this to teach our kids how to.

Dr. White, just because some teachers said that they EXPECT our kids to use computers at home does not mean that there are no other options. How do other districts get by? By no means do teachers or the superintendent approve the budget - the BOE does. The Board is in charge of decisions based on what has been proven to show educational benefit, AND, what is supported by parents. Not the other way around. That is why the superintendent and his staff get paid, and the BOE work for free. The administration needs to understand that teachers or the superintendent cannot force all taxpayers to buy unproven iPads and computers, especially when they want continued automatic raises, AND a new $65 million dollar school. Go back to pencil and paper and add up the costs by hand. Maybe it will help the district understand that just because you can add or spell on an iPad, the answer is not any better than what shows up in lead on regular lined paper.

Anonymous said...

And if we didn't already have enough problems.... I just got this email forwarded by a friend:

Nearly $3.5 million of funding cuts are on the legislative docket right now.
Please share this with everyone in our district & have them contact our local rep and tell them you are AGAINST SB231. Contact info at end of email.…/chi-ugc-article-sen-chris-n…

Senate Passes SB231, District 86 & 181 Targeted to Lose nearly $3.5 Million Annually
On May 10th, 2016, the Illinois Senate passed SB231, the Better Funding for Better Schools Act, which is now under consideration in the House. SB231 is state Senator Andy Manar's third legislative attempt to alter the education funding formula in Illinois. Like its predecessors SB16 and SB1, SB231 creates "winners" and "losers" and redistributes education dollars by way of a new funding formula based on need and local ability to pay.
Hinsdale District 181 & 86 is estimated to lose nearly $3.5 million annually in state funding if the House passes this measure. Legislators critical of SB231 decry the plan as a Chicago Public Schools bailout as it provides an additional $175 million in funding to CPS and $205 million in CPS pension relief.
School districts targeted to lose funding under Manar's legislation will face further challenges if a separate bill, HB696, passes in the Illinois Senate. HB696 prohibits schools districts from increasing property tax revenue unless voters approve a referendum. HB696 has already passed in the House. A property tax freeze has been one of the Governor Rauner's key agenda items.
• increases the local property tax burden for districts targeted to lose funding
• does not provide school districts with any relief from unfunded yet costly education mandates
• includes a four year phase-in period for school districts losing funding
• includes a first year only "hold harmless" provision, which merely delays funding losses for targeted school districts
• redirects $175 million in additional funding to Chicago Public Schools and offers CPS pension relief
• has already passed the Illinois Senate and is under consideration in the Illinois House
See how your Senator voted and the full text of SB231 here:…
In addition to SB231, two other education funding reform proposals may come under consideration, one backed by Governor Rauner and a separate evidence-based funding proposal being studied by the House Task Force. Word on the street is that legislators could use education funding and related legislation as bargaining chips during state budget negotiations. The Illinois state budget impasse is now in its eleventh month.
SB231 - What Can You Do?
Contact your Illinois State Representative, and the Speaker of the House, to voice your opinion.
• Representative Patti Bellock (630) 852-8633
• Representative Kathleen Willis (708) 562-6970
• Representative Deb Conroy (630) 415-3520
• Speaker of the House, Michael Madigan (773) 581-8000 or (217) 782-5350

Sen. Chris Nybo opposes latest school funding bill
SPRINGFIELD - Nineteen suburban school districts could lose more than $43.7 million in state aid every year under the latest Chicago Public School bailout plan pending in the House of Representatives.