We have just received the following comment that we are posting as our Comment of the Day. As the author states, we'd love to hear from you on the issues raised in the newspaper articles. So SOUND OFF!
COMMENT OF THE DAY:
The following are 3 links to recent newspaper articles. Please consider posting them as a comment of the day. The first deals with an initiative at Yorkville School District 115 in which homework and non-assessment work will no longer be graded. This initiative is going to be delayed. What I found interesting about it is that the Yorkville's Director of Teaching and Learning is leaving there to become D181's new Assistant Superintendent of Learning. Is this going to be the "next, best learning initiative" that is tried on our kids? I for one hope not, but would love to hear other's opinions. So please read the articles dealing with this initiative: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-yorkville-grading-update-st-0525-20160524-story.html and http://canmua.net/world/yorkville-proposal-calls-for-end-to-grades-on-homework-749158.html
The third article deals with a federal investigation that is now underway against the College of Dupage in connection with actions allegedly taken by the past president and board of trustees. Subpoenas served to college administrators seek information related to various areas including administrator expenses. Perhaps it is time someone investigated D181? Here is the article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-college-of-dupage-federal-subpoena-20150415-story.html
Yorkville Director of Teaching and Learning Kelley Gallt said the proposal is designed to ensure students are measured based on how well they understand a concept, rather than their behavior, and that they are not punished for practice work.
"It promotes the idea or the concept that we're allowing students the opportunity to grow and learn and practice without penalty," she said. "And so it really is about learning, and we want to make sure that that is the emphasis of what we do."
Query: How does one measure how well a student understands a concept without gauging their "behavior" (i.e., performance on homework)?
This sounds like more watering down of curriculum rather than ramping up the rigor. More trendy nonsense is on its way to D181. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...
American public education jumped the shark about a generation ago. It is no accident that former Secretary of Education, Arne "fail upward" Duncan, sends his kids to private school.
I would urge everyone to give her a chance. We cannot attack people before their first day on the job. If you want our curriculum mess to be cleaned up please give her a chance and stop the premature attacks.
Agree with 5:12, let's give her chance. Please read the link carefully. It is about grading HOMEWORK. My children attended D181 back when the kids actually were required to learn stuff. We had nightly vocab words, math facts, geography facts, etc. The purpose of HOMEWORK was to reinforce CLASSWORK. If you skipped homework, you probably did poorly on the test. The behavior to be measured is measured on the test at the end of the week or the end of the academic unit.
Having said that, a lot of homework in elementary school is a waste of time and I am about as old school as they get. Art projects, posters, etc. stress the kids and the parents and are not necessary. I recall our 7th grader taking advanced English and pre algebra being given coloring projects by one of her teachers. WRO
Let's get our kids back to learning!
Let's give Ms Galt time to find her desk and pick her staff before we get the knives out.
I support THE PARENTS and this blog and I will miss it when they pack it in. But a valid criticism is that some comments are just too judgemental and negative.
No doubt the board and parents will give her a chance. But in light of this recent news in Yorkville, we must ask why this person was hired? Yorkville's population is nothing like that of D181. The focus of doing away with homework was apparently widely known months ago. Was this the best 181 could get to be in charge of curriculum? Does this person have the experience and background to tackle the mess here?
I'm not impressed.
This comment thread is very unwelcomong to our new hire. If you want our curriculum to be fixed any time soon, the constant hurling of insults has got to stop. The new hires are not responsible for the past damage and are tying to help. If people insist on hurling insults at them, then there is absolutely no hope of fixing this mess and we will never move forward.
I agree it is unwelcoming, but I disagree that this thread will result in no hope of getting anything fixed. If anything, it makes our expectations clear to her.
I am quite wary too that another person was hired from such a different demographic than our own.
I think the BOE has learned their lesson not to allow any future new hires to experiment with unsubstantiated theories.
I have read this whole thread and the articles. I don't agree that the initial post was an attack on an incoming administrator, although some of the comments posted appear to be preemptive attacks against an administrator who parents are rightfully concerned might have plans to try yet another provocative initiative in D181. Can you really blame parents after the Learning for All/social justice fiasco of the last four years? I read the post as seeking comment on the Yorkville initiative, which was developed with a parent committee and now is being delayed because of teacher concerns. I doubt anything like this would happen in D181 without a similar parent committee first getting involved, but frankly, I agree that the BOE will probably not pursue it, even if parents or administrators suggest it. The Board should have (as another comment suggested) learned its lesson about pursuing too many educational initiatives at once. My hope is that the new administrators in the DOL will focus on fixing the current curriculum mess and not try and bring any new fangled ideas to the table. If they can do that, then parents and teachers will be eternally grateful to them. As for this blog, it is too bad the bloggers are hanging it up, but I totally get that they shouldn't be the only ones shining a light of transparency on district happenings, especially if all their kids have graduated. Time will tell if other parents step up to carry the bloggers torch, but until then, the new administrators can breathe a sigh of relief that they won't be scrutinized. Maybe, just maybe, if they all do their jobs and do them well, there won't be any need for younger parents to create a new blog.
I, for one, am not giving the notion that homework shouldn't be graded a "chance," and neither should anyone else.
Labeling skepticism of philosophy that assigns homework but doesn't evaluate it as a "personal attack" is intellectually dishonest, if not lazy.
Criticism of a harebrained proposal is not the same thing as an attack. I'm sure Gallt is a fine person. But, that is beside the point. I'm also sure that not every idea she has is a good one. That's why people in leadership positions should be forced to defend their theories before they are implemented.
Therefore, the more the community is involved with fixing the curriculum, the faster it will be fixed. If there was more skepticism and outcry when the Learning For All disaster was unveiled, we wouldn't be in the mess we are today.
So good luck Ms. Gallt. I hope you know what you are doing. But I'm done being silent when I smell manure.
First of all, the pupil population of Yorkville is different than D181. Please acknowledge that. What an individual does in one district may be best for that pupil population and not necessarily applicable in D181. However, what is being proposed in the Yorkville recommendation may be the educational best practice of the future.
As a previous middle school and high school teacher, I would like to comment on the Yorkville committee driven recommendations where Ms. Gaullt is the spokesperson. The proposal is for assessments that demonstrate understanding concepts. This is asking for mastery of concepts. The proposal is suggesting that students not be assessed on behavior, though I do not totally understand what is meant by behavior in this situation. I do understand that the proposal does not want students to be assessed on practice work, possibly to give them a chance to freely, without stigma of immediate assessment, practice learning the concept which will lead to mastery. I understand the movement toward limiting homework because in many cases it truly has become excessive and without genuine value other than busy work. As for the proposal of final examines only given if the test time is similar and that the finals hold similar weight to other exams, I have to believe this proposal has been researched and found to be reasonable and current best practice. Other changes noted, such as eliminating extra credit, which does not necessarily demonstrate mastery of the required skill/information, and changing make up work flexibility, which sounds like being more reasonable in expectations of work completion, seem very reasonable. My read on this whole situation is that Ms. Gaullt, working with a district committee in developing these recommendations, felt the need to make these recommendations in culmination of the committee and her work for the Yorkville district. These recommendations were the result of two years of research and, even though implementation has been delayed, there probably was good reason to publicize the recommendations of the committee and Ms. Gaullt now before she leaves the Yorkville district.
Give the woman a break!!! As a member of the interview committee that recommended hiring Ms. Gaullt, please let her enter D181, assess our "hot mess" and come up with a rescue plan! She has the knowledge base, experience and COURAGE to come to D181 and deal with our messed up situation!!! Give her a chance.
Sure, Ms Mueller, we can give Ms Gaullt a chance. Just like we gave Learning for All a chance. Just like we gave Don White a chance. Just like we gave Kurt Schneider a chance. Just like we gave Kevin Russell a chance. Just like we gave Renee Schuster a chance. Just like we gave Dawn Benaitis a chance. Just like we gave the school board a chance to get it right this year while they focused their attention on a new HMS.
Sure, we can continue to give chances while test scores go in reverse.
We sincerely hope the new administrator in charge in charge of learning can indeed fix the mess. Your kids weren't subjected to trials and chances. Surely you can understand our concerns.
It is clearly time for this blog to end. I used to enjoy reading it and found it informative. Now it is just mean and nasty.
Time to move on people. All the people responsible for the curriculum mess are finally gone. We can't change the past. What happened was awful but it's done. Move forward. Give the new people who are trying to fix this mess a chance. If we don't, there is no hope for this district. Stop the premature attacks.
To 8:17 am: I think the comments reflect a disdain for Don White and everything for which he stands. From the start, he has hired and promoted people who don’t belong in those positions. (Check our district’s decline in test scores and talk to parents. It will quickly become evident that our advanced learners are languishing in their classrooms and our special education students are being pushed along until they can be dumped on Hinsdale Central. Even worse, parents continue to complain about bullying in our schools by district staff and the offending staff remains or are transferred to another District 181 school.)
Meanwhile all of Don White’s energy seems to have been focused on pushing for a gold-plated HMS.
Where is the BOE in this fiasco? Giltner and Gray can’t do everything themselves.
Unfortunately, it's not that easy just to move on. And you are mistaken if you think all of the people responsible for the curriculum mess are finally gone. Don White is still with us for the next year. He is responsible. He is well compensated and in charge of the district. White promoted Kurt Schneider to oversee district curriculum. We see how that turned out.
So, it won't be time to move on until Don White is gone.
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