Wednesday, January 27, 2010

District 150 has their eye on a particular candidate

District 150 is prepared to announce that Dr. Grenita Lathan is their preferred candidate for the position of Peoria Public Schools Superintendent. Although no official appointment will be made until all due diligence is completed, she will be coming to Peoria soon for an official introduction.

Dr. Lathan is currently the Interim Deputy Superintendent for the San Diego Unified School District.

In 2007, a staff member at Guilford County Schools, in North Carolina, where Dr. Lathan was a Principal at the time described Dr. Lathan as follows: An individual who leads with,”…vigor and compassion, strength and courage, humility and respect – beckoning all the while for all of us to come alongside and share in the grand adventure of educating children and shaping the future”.

Yeah, we are gonna need ALL of that for District 150. Bring it Dr. Lathan.
Tough Test Beginning for Magnet Programs - if she can bring a Montessori Program to District 150 - we just might be on to something...

Friday, January 15, 2010

East Bluff Housing Service- flipping for renters

Yes, the EBHS is in the business of flipping houses for rental.

Dale Hanssen, the EBHS Treasurer, is also the owner of Principal Property Management. Mr. Hanssen, who is a volunteer, has offered the EBHS his expertise in buying, renovating and renting properties.

Mr. Hanssen is charged with choosing the properties to renovate; negotiating with the banks; deciding on the renovations to make; hiring the team (there is no bid process) to do the work; sets the schedule for getting the work done; decides who will rent the property; runs the background check on the prospective tenant via Principal Property Management; negotiate the contract with the tenant; and then oversees any maintenance on the property that the tenant may need (through Principal Property Management); at a rate decided upon by Principal Property Management.

East Bluffers are concerned that there may be a conflict of interest with Mr. Hanssen being the Treasurer of the EBHS and the owner of Principal Property Management. I wonder if there is even a contract between the EBHS and Principal Property Management? Hmmm... I would love to see the terms of that document.

In the meantime, there are longstanding homeowners who are hoping to get loans through EBHS for a roof or a porch (you know $2,000-$3,000), but EBHS won't return their calls or answer their e-mail. Not that the EBHS could help said homeowner, because the money that the EBHS has is tied up in flipping houses for renters.

All of that aside, East Bluffers know that deep in their hearts there is the fear that the EBHS is getting ready for the influx of public housing tenants that the City is relocating to the East Bluff. Could that be the real reason why the City of Peoria needs the EBHS to work out? From what I understand City staff attended the meeting heavily. Everybody from the Corporation Counsel, to the Director of Planning, to five Councilmen and even a deputy City Clerk was in attendance.

Just think - the East Bluff Housing Services a division of the Peoria Housing Authority. Is that where we are heading? I don't think any homeowner in the East Bluff would relish the thought of that. I know I don't.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Notice of the East Bluff Housing Service meeting and board vacancies

The East Bluff Housing Service (EBHS) currently has four vacancies open on the Board. If you own a home on the East Bluff and you have the time to give a darn, please consider inquiring about the available Board positions.

At this time, the EBHS is being run like it is the East Bluff Business Association, because they are only advancing the needs of businesses. In my opinion, and the opinion of many others who own homes on the East Bluff, we deserve a Housing Service that is truly dedicated to the needs of the homeowners who live in the area.

Interested in joining the Board? Here is the contact info: Peggy Shadid-Joseph, East Bluff NHS,; Dale Hanssen,; Rev. Simon Holly,; Tom Stone,

Here is what is really special about the EBHS Board - you don't have to live in the East Bluff to sit on it, some of the Board members actually live outside of Peoria. As a matter of fact, none of the leaders of the Board (Hanssen, Holly, Stone) live on the East Bluff.

So, if you are an expert in the Neighborhood Code (which was imposed upon homeowners in the East Bluff without their input/knowledge and is now impeding every right East Bluffers have to fight to protect their property values) the EBHS would be a perfect fit for you. Again, don't worry if you live outside the neighborhood - if you have an opinion of what the people in "these neighborhoods need" - the EBHS wants you. (end sarcasm)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A plea for racial sensitivity training in District 150

There is just way too much pearl clutching going on in District 150 these days. As I have previously posted, it is my belief that many District 150 teachers have some problems understanding "black culture" and are sorely in need of racial sensitivity training.

It saddens me that in 2010 the word diversity is still relevant in Peoria. However, racial sensitivity training could be instrumental in closing the achievement gap between students of different races.

It is unfortunate that the discrimination lawsuit that the teachers have brought against District 150 did not request racial sensitivity training as part of their settlement. The lawsuit indicates that such training is needed. When Benassi handled the Mitsubishi lawsuit, on going racial sensitivity training was a part of the settlement. I am curuious as to why training was not requested in this instance?

Many teachers come from communities where there is very little diversity or interaction with people of different backgrounds. I have seen some student teachers who appear to be left speechless, as if they have never spoken with a black parent before. Their only conversation is for you to question them, at which time, you find out they are from some little town called Avon or whatever.

The Board of Education can and should be proactive in this matter. They don't have to wait until racial sensitivity training is demanded in a lawsuit - they could and should institute such training within District 150 NOW. We all know we need it.
Critical Issue - Educating Teachers for Diversity
As the student population in American schools becomes increasingly diverse, educators must respond with school reform efforts that meet the needs of all students. They must develop culturally sensitive curricula that integrate multicultural viewpoints and histories, apply instructional strategies that encourage all students to achieve, and review school and district policies related to educational equity. Teacher education programs in particular are responsible for preparing future teachers to promote meaningful, engaged learning for all students, regardless of their race, gender, ethnic heritage, or cultural background.

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Time for a remake of Mandingo...

... starring Tiger Woods.

I wasn't going to say anything about this nonsense, but every time I see this photo of Tiger Woods, I just have to chuckle. All the while he was running around in that tired, red polo shirt talking about he's Calibasian...

... it took the brilliantly, twisted eye of the desperate and bankrupt photographer, Anne Leibovitz to show him as the true Mandingo that he really is.

Irony much?