Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Call to Action -- D86 Community Members Concerned with Next Year's Science Curriculum Changes, the time to Speak Out is Now!

We have been asked to publish the following comment submitted on our last post.  Please read and take action!

"D86 Community - especially Hinsdale Central parents and parents of 8th graders:

There are some very significant changes that are being put into place next year that would completely change the Science curriculum at Hinsdale Central. Many popular classes are being eliminated and the Biology - Chemistry - Physics track that has worked successfully for our students for decades is being completely thrown out in favor of a model that more closely resembles what Hinsdale South offers its students. The community was just notified about these changes 2 weeks ago at a Board meeting and in the Board meeting e-mail summary which most people missed. There was very little discussion at the meeting and very few questions from the Board about the proposal. One of the BOE members who has students at Central was not even present to hear the presentation or ask questions. This kind of change without analysis by the Board and input from the community is unprecedented in our district.

The parents and community members who are aware of these changes are concerned about them for the following reasons, among others:

  • None of our peer districts offer a Science program similar to what has been proposed
  • Hinsdale Central's Science Department, while not perfect, delivers some of the highest Science scores in the State and Nationally at both grade level and the Honors level
  • There has been no data presented that supports completely changing the Central Science Department in the way that has been decided
  • There was no discussion about how this new program will be monitored and how we will determine its success or failure in the future
  • Parents have also been told that "G level" classes (IEP and 504 plan students) in Science will be going away at the same time, pushing those students into general Science classes which will now be 'co-taught" by teachers 
  • Popular science classes such as Mr. McCloud's Earth Science class and AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 will be eliminated, among others
  • Traditional Chemistry and Physics classes will be replaced with "Geo-Physics" and "Geo-Chemistry" classes.
  • All entering Freshman who complete Algebra as 8th graders will be placed in an Honors Physics class.
  • Upperclass Physics teachers will be teaching freshman Physics classes while and until new teachers are licensed to teach Physics
  • Parents have heard from some Central teachers that they have concerns about these changes
  • Parents have heard that changes to the Math department have also already been made or that they will be soon.
  • If you are a parent who is concerned about these changes, or would like more information to be shared with the community before these changes are implemented in a permanent way, please e-mail the Board of Education and ask them to put the topic of Science on their Agenda for the next Board meeting which is on November 14. It may already be too late but we won't know unless we try to slow this down and get more information."

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