Thursday, September 29, 2011

Important news story covered in hyperbole

Its the END of week six of the 2011 - 2012 school year and finally the "local" newspaper is taking a look at the fact that students and teachers in District 150 STILL DON'T HAVE TEXT BOOKS. It's unfortunate that the "news report" makes light of something as important as students not having text books. The "news report" is filled with hyperbole, so I have attempted to glean some facts: 
  • It's Week 6, and some students still don't have all of their textbooks.
  • In some cases, the books haven't even arrived yet from publishers. When will they get here?
  • The books are actually here - at the district warehouse.
  • When will the textbooks get to students? 
  • "Hopefully, they'll be on the way soon," says district spokesman Chris Coplan.
  • Administrators keep filling out requests for books.
  • As of this week, students - in history and other disciplines at Peoria High - still don't have books.
  • It's the same thing with other kids and courses at other district schools: no books. 
  • What's the hold-up? There aren't enough books because there are too many books.
  • "We just ordered so many textbooks this summer," says spokesman Coplan.
  • The district underwent a wave of curriculum changes after the last academic year.
  • The district ordered a half-million dollars worth of new textbooks, a much higher sum than usual.
  • Many of those books still haven't arrived.
  • In many cases, the books came in plenty of time.
  • They're neatly stacked at the district warehouse on Lake Street.
  • There are just two employees at the warehouse.
  • There are strict rules regarding intaking requests and unpacking supplies and tracking orders and marking books and distributing texts.
  • Teachers are trying to make do with alternative teaching methods.
  • In some cases, teachers are running off copies of book pages for students.
  • In printing off copies, the district is wasting time and money in replacing books that are already here
  • "We're working daily to get them out," Coplan says
  • The process isn't working right.
  • Those still-on-order books someday might get here from publishers.
  • When that happens, fear more delays.
  • Taxpayers pick up the tab for these materials.
  • It's a waste to see these books languish without delivery.
  • It's a waste to see students languish without books.

93 comments:

Emerge Peoria said...

excuses that the Kinney/Lathan team gave to 1470WMBD last week:

*new material
*purchased a lot of material
timing of the start of school year
short summer
increase in kindergartners
not enough kindergartner material
assessment tests

*Coplan reiterated these excuses in today's news report

Sharon Crews said...

Oops, I just looked at the story--not by Stewart, but Luciano.

Anonymous said...

I've just got to say that if I were to do my job this poorly, I would be standing in line at unemployment---not at the bank cashing my $10,000 bonus check.

Anonymous said...

AMEN!!!

kohlrabi said...

Sharon - I'm not convinced that Stewart will be all that critical or investigative about what is going on with psd150 - he criticized the TV stations for reporting the fighting on the Glen Oak Scgool grounds. Not worth reporting.

Emerge Peoria said...

I agree with Kohlrabi.

Actually I had a reaction when I saw Sharon's comment about Stewart and hit the delete button by reflex. Sorry...

Anonymous said...

The school board should be held accountable as well. They just sit there every other week and do ABSOLUTELY nothing!!! Why even bother to show up??? They are all sorry and pathetic!

Anonymous said...

All of these so called reasons are ridiculous.

This whole situation reeks of failure to properly plan. Shame on the administration.

They must order and deliver books on a different schedule in North Carolina.

Sharon Crews said...

Of course, it is the BOE members that are to blame. The buck stops with them, and they are not doing due diligence. They have given Dr. Lathan full authority to do anything she wants. There are vercrowded classrooms and a "planned" shortage of teachers so that new unneeded textbooks can be purchased (for reasons we probably don't fully understand). And nobody can say that this education fund money is designated for texts.

Sharon Crews said...

Kohlrabi--I'm sorry to hear that--was Stewart's criticism in an article that I missed? Was he reacting to the fight at Glen Oak that Emerge had posted on this site or the more recent one? Not that it matters--both were newsworthy.

kohlrabi said...

Stewart has an education blog called Extra Credit on the pjstar website - the last posting was September 17 about the fights that Emerge posted - and how they weren't newsworthy. Nothing to look at - move along.

Anonymous said...

Those excuses sound like they came out of the mouth of Foghorn Leghorn not a person who supposedly has a doctorate in education...pleaassseeee...what a bunch of garbage! Who would believe it?

Sharon Crews said...

Kohlrabi--Thanks; it is interesting that the PJS did report the second Glen Oak fight in Monday's paper. I'm still trying to figure out how the police could spray the fighters, but not know who was fighting in order to make arrests.

Emtronics said...

First of all Lathan has direct deposit so no standing in line to cash that bonus check. The $10k was directly deposited into her account. Second of all, the employees, not teachers, but the main employees like janitors, warehouse, cafeteria, painters, etc etc, are the laziest bunch you'll ever see. Try getting anything done at any school and it's always; "It's not my job." Half the cafeteria workers can't even show up to work a whole week. They have 13 sick days a year and they use them. Nobody wants to do anything extra or out of their job title which is why the books are sitting at the warehouse.

Anonymous said...

'Creative'

She not doing her job, plain and simple.
There is a chain of command in every establishment. If the work is not getting done then as Superintendent she should do what she is getting paid for and light a fire under the Principle of that school to do his job and find people who can and will do the job.
Always excuses. There is no excuse when it comes to our children and their education.
It comes back to who running what.
Step up the
game and get it done!

Anonymous said...

travel+power lunch+fly ins+meet w/dignitaries+give jobs to buddies from out of state+bully employees+beat down employee moral+contract out bus service+piss off the NAACP+the principal shuffle+text book failure+busing failure=$10,000 bonus&we love you grenada!

Anonymous said...

Just go back to North Carolina already.

Anonymous said...

Glen Oak school better get some security over there. I saw 5-6 older boys (18-21 year olds) walking around after school today. All appeared to be "holding" something in their pockets. It scared me enough to point them out to a couple of other people out there. I think they had guns and by the way the were looking around, it seemed that they were looking for someone. After last weekends brawl on the soccer field, we need to feel SAFE at school. PLEASE.

Sharon Crews said...

If older boys are hanging around, the police should be called--no time for second thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Wow Emtronics, you are painting with a mighty wide brush. I was a long time employee in maintenance. I always did more then my share, I am not going to say there aren't lazy people like you describe, because there are. I still run into former students who are now grown. They always have a story (which I forgot) of something I did that touched them. Sorry, I just got a little offended. I remember going to work on Christmas day to check boilers when it was below zero, yes I got paid extra for it (time and a half), I could have not answered the phone, or used one of my sick days, but I didn't. And just for the record, I had saved as many as allowed. I had a duty to go to work, and I did, even when I didn't feel like it.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see the test scores ZOOOM once books arrive. In years past they had books so certainly if we look back we will see test scores, oh ....wait....I think I hear teachers excuses coming....but let's make sure the vast majority get back to their bedroom communities with paychecks cashed before the ones the taught take what they learned and rob them.

Anonymous said...

O---kay that was weird.

Sharon Crews said...

I understand--partially--your argument about teachers from bedroom communities; however, do you think there are enough teachers who live in Peoria to take their places? The truth is that many who could be teaching in 150, also, live and teach in those bedroom communities and in private schools.
Also, Emtronics, that brush was pretty broad. :) I know that it must be discouraging for maintenance workers to work hard all night cleaning the unnecessary messes made by students and then to have the cycle start all over again. Again, there is little for the cafeteria workers to take pride in--the way it used to before the food service was farmed out.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line lathan and board responsible for beginning of the year transportation and textbook cluster.. Plain and simple. Lathan quit lying and FINALLY, FOR ONCE admit that you made a mistake! Geeezzzz

Anonymous said...

Maybe when the charter school shows positive scores and improvement we can let them take over the district. Bet they have books and certainly haven't heard their staff complaining constantly. I did hear VERY positive comments about student behavior @ Trewyn from the "Look it's My Book" group. They also said Glen Oak has several teachers whose only grasp of class room management seems to be yelling.

Anonymous said...

That is too bad about the teachers who have to YELL to be heard. When they aren't being supported when handing out consequences for their little darlings,it does get a bit stressful. Imagine going through all the PBIS motions, asking for administrative assistance, and the child is back in class before you can shut the door behind them. All day, every day!

Anonymous said...

BTW, those little darlings are destroying a $27 million dollar building faster that a swarm of termites. Vandalism at it's finest.

Anonymous said...

'Creative'

I just hope it's not the same Charter School I know of as a joke.
I think a lot of you would be very surprised about what's going on in some of them (well..a couple of them I know of).

Anonymous said...

'Creative'

It has been many years but I can kind of still remember my janitor lol. He was a very hard working, proud, very well disrespected person. So were the Cafeteria workers. Just kind of went back down memory lane.
Wasn't that a beautiful song ]?

Anonymous said...

'Creative'

Sorry about the typo. Meant to say very well respected.

Anonymous said...

As a sub in the district today I was appalled at the amount of disrespect and rudeness exhibited. The students run the school. They come and go whenever they want.

Anonymous said...

Which school did you sub at today, Anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous can't say because he/she might be the only sub in that school today. You know how those teachers and subs are.
Scared as hell of the lady with the glasses. Booo!

Anonymous said...

where's bob when a teacher needs him?

Emtronics said...

Sorry, There are indeed some dedicated district employees. Only a few but there are some. I am jaded I guess. Can't tell you why because I might offend someone who calls in sick on Sunday afternoon for Monday.

Anonymous said...

I subbed at a high school yesterday and again today, but the disrespect isn't unique to those students, it is across the board.

I think the BOE should have to sub without anybody telling the students who the subs are and such.

Frustrated said...

Emtronics -

Sorry but you are painting with a wide brush there. I agree I have seen some clinkers over the years, but there are many great employees at all levels.

I am in regular contact now with the janitor at Woodruff. What a worker!! Everything is so clean. You can tell he takes pride in his work. One of my children swims there and he has rules for the team on keeping the pool tidy. The team loves him and really appreciates his efforts.

Anonymous said...

And with the latest lawsuit fiasco where a mother won $180,000 for her son being "abused" at school, every parent in the district is going to sue. I understand the kid whose mother won came back to school telling his teachers, you can't touch me. I can do anything I want and you can't touch me, which has been the attitude of 90% of most of the students in the last 10 years. We see where it has gotten them. More lawsuits announced in today's paper. Why anyone would want to teach in this day and age is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

and the poor child in the "day Treatment Center" probably suffers from fetal alcohol symptoms - or worse. Forced sterilization rules or whats the answer? Poor parenting decisions are hurting everyone, yet it is the third rail of social welfare. ENOUGH!

Sharon Crews said...

We don't know yet whether the bus drivers mentioned in today's PJS are 150's or drivers from the new company. It could well be either. However, it does raise the question: when the outsourced company's drivers are sued, does 150 bear any of the blame and cost, etc.?

Anonymous said...

(1) "There are just two employees at the warehouse" Take Grenitas bonus and pay 150 employees time and a half to go out to the warehouse an work, give some of the money to the warehouse to hire more workers temporarily,fire whoever is running the warehouse and get someone competent in their place who can get it done.
(2)"Taxpayers pick up the tab for these materials" Take Grenitas bonus and pay the taxpayers back.
(3) Take Grenitas bonus and buy her a one way ticket to anywhere she wants to go and tell her she is not allowed to step foot back in the county or come in contact with anyone in District 150, their children or anyone related to any one in District 150.
Ohhhh, and throw her a real big going away party with the change we have left.

Anonymous said...

Man! Finally, someone with a plan. Where do we meet up to put this in motion. I Am Totally Stoked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Peoria Public Schools District 150: Administration‎
3202 North Wisconsin Avenue

Anonymous said...

Sounds like someone with a "plan" doesn't like being held accountable for a change. And just how are your test scores? Oh, I know - it's all parents and admins fault. Today must have been a payday. way to get stoked! too bad for our children you don't bring that level of enthusiasm to the classroom. But you still cash those checks......

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, without the textbooks necessary, and heading to outside sources to make copies of the one textbook I have...you have no clue, last Anonymous. Six weeks into the school year...kids in high school looking for college scholarships, without access to the textbook? Kids in line for good grades...no textbook? How long did you go without textbooks when you were in school? How many "copies" of textbooks did you have? Totally unacceptable! Completely and totally unacceptable! Sounds like a NC plantee making that post.

Get real. The teachers are not playing school in D150. We are busting ourselves accommodating what administration is lacking. No more excuses. Just give us what we need to teach the students of Peoria!

Anonymous said...

So why did your students not perform last year? HS scores were PATHETIC! I've probably been a Peoria taxpayer longer than you. Results in D150 haven't been acceptable for YEARS!! Get real? Yep.

Anonymous said...

I have taught in 3 different District 150 schools in the last four years. It isn't lack of books that is the problem.

Anonymous said...

Part of it is the lack of discipline last year that has spilled into this year, because the students had no consequences.

That and a $180,000 payout.

Anonymous said...

Notice you didn't mention the payout to the horrible union employee.If the teacher hadn't laid a hand on the student inappropriately - the payout would have been what? Zero? I've heard from staff about positive outcomes @ Knoxville Center - not all - but a lot. The Woodruff facility seems to be a HUGE start towards what many have been clamoring for. Lack of discipline permeates our society -not just schools. Look at all the obesity that costs billions in added healthcare - lack of discipline. "Parts" are all around, but the Supt.was brought here to invoke major cultural changes - and while I don't agree with everything (esp. the $10k bonus) I think a lot of the change will prove productive if eveyone is working together and I know for a FACT some of our teachers aren't raising expectations - they use poverty, discipline , etc as a crutch to not perform to THEIR highest level. FACT!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a teacher but 1 just handed it to you like one.
And I'm Still Stoked!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Latoy reads this blog religiously. So- please get those kids their books, and help the teachers with materials to teach. Take your entire staff down to Ricketts on Monday- push up your sleeves, fill up their cars, and take the books to each school. Check your ego at the door, admit you messed up, and help the schools.

Anonymous said...

Grenita is not kind to 'the help' around her, anonymous you just caused the gentle giant a client. Doubt me? Google how many people she has fired to date.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Herman Cain for President!

Anonymous said...

Anybody read the Trib about the University of Chicago study poking holes in what Arnie Duncan and Paul Vallas claimed to have accomplished? Both have moved on to the next government supported gravy train. I wonder who the next "education reformer" our city leaders suck up to for a fundraiser...Will it help our community or further political interests? Only our Chamber knows for sure.....(puke)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I will check it out. Sounds interesting.

Frustrated said...

Emerge - Off point for this post, however, wanted you to read article I came across on NYTimes -

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/02/opinion/sunday/meet-the-new-super-people.html

Anonymous said...

Did anyone read Lathan's excuse this morning in the Journal? Teachers are exaggerating bc in this day in age some kids have Ipads instead of books...really?????

You know an organization is in trouble when it starts to believe its own propaganda.

Stinky said...

As they say....excuses are like a**holes....everyone has AT LEAST one!

Sharon Crews said...

I haven't read the article, but if she is not accepting the seriousness of classrooms without books--and the fact that she will undoubtedly be restricting paper for normal use because so much has been used for duplicating pages of books--then this District is in more trouble than even I thought. She is working in a District of 70% poverty and she is claiming kids of IPads. Does she think the cart that brings IPads for kids to use for short periods of time is doing the job? What about parents who want to help their kids at home (and most of those homes don't have IPads).

Sharon Crews said...

Wait a minute! If textbooks aren't that important why did she just spend $85,000 on Thinking Maps and Thinking Map training (for info that can be found online), and why did she buy over $700,000 worth of scoial studies and science books that didn't need to be replaced? Talk about talking out of both sides of one's mouth. This is on a par with her blaming the bus drivers for all the problems with buses this year.

Anonymous said...

Amen,Sharon! Preach on!

Anonymous said...

In the hope that board members are monitoring this blog...

Breakfast on Friday was cheese and crackers.

Enough said about not having cooks in the high school kitchens making food for our students. Please get rid of the overpaid company that supplies this stuff.

Sharon Crews said...

Also, just read the PJS editorial about textbooks and IPads. The PJS doesn't say Lathan said it--doesn't say who said it. The editorial says "they" say. Gosh, when I took journalism in college, one of the first rules I learned was to identify who said it or say "an unidentified source"--not "they."

Anonymous said...

We are talking about PJS here. When was the last time they used any journalism skills. Any skills at all for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's Sunday... where's the fight?

Anonymous said...

If you're looking for vandalism/fights....there is plenty of it going on at Glen Oak School grounds. Landscaping being destroyed, 40 oz. empty cans of beer lying around, McDonald's garbage, playground equipment being defaced, but hey, Dr. Judy Helm said that these neighbors are so happy to have a new school, they will take GOOD care of it....ok, and I have a pair of velcro tennis shoes to sell her REAL cheap...only $85,000. Oh, and they are IMPORTED? from North Carolina

Anonymous said...

'Creative'

“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word - EXCELLENCE. To know how to do something well is to enjoy It”! ~ Pearl S. Buck


Dedicated to all you teachers out there in District 150 who have been limited in their teaching abilities due to reasons beyond their control? Don't let this crisis take your joy away from what you love. Hang in there. It will get better.

Sharon Crews said...

All that is good happens only because of the dedicated teachers. When Hinton first came up with the idea of green space being the secret to learning, I asked then, "Who is going to pay for landscaping and the upkeep at Glen Oak and Harrison." At both places--only weeds and ugliness outside. So much for that expensive impetus to learning.

Anonymous said...

'Creative'

Is it not the bases by which we have been choosing our Supers coming and going the reason why we have not had any success in District 150?
Are they not raising the bar high enough and only seeing what is on the surface.

Anonymous said...

'Creative'


I hear teachers (anonymous) complaining and can only imagine how difficult it is to be in the position they are in with so much negativity not at Grenita along (a lot of which she deserve) but undeservingly at very many of them as well .

Anonymous said...

you must be a teacher

Anonymous said...

'Creative'

No.I did see that comment coming.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this turned really bad. Emerge, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have done a lot of good by your blog. A lot of info that could have been supressed has been exposed. I guess, if you have (not you Emerge) nothing of value to say, then take cheap shots, like some of the people here. "Some people see things as they are and ask why? I dream things that never were and ask why not? I hope I got that right. "It is better to light one candle, then to curse the darkness"

Anonymous said...

'Creative'

Like that.

Anonymous said...

Lighten up. --Fellow blogger-I certainly enjoy your comedy and understand that it is just meant in fun. I have read hateful comments on this blog and certainly do not take yours as such.

Sharon Crews said...

Blowing off steam is an absolute necessity for any District 150 employee at this point--it's a survival technique for them and a must to be able to go back into classrooms, buses, cafeterias, etc., inconvenienced and unsupported by District 150 central administration.
I have been reading through all of this thread and rereading the PJS editorial, trying to decide what I really expect of District 150.

First of all, honesty would be really great. Case in point would be the textbook situation. I don't think we've heard a straight answer since school started--which is why there have been so many conflicting excuses offered by various and even the same people. If textbooks aren't available, say so and give us an honest answer even if it means accepting the blame for the delay. If books are available, then all effort should have been made from day 1 to take care of getting the books out. Making up stuff about Ipads, etc., is enough to make any teacher angry.

Secondly, show even a little glimmer of respect for District 150 employees--I have seen or heard no such thing coming from Dr. Lathan. I have heard about one personality conflict after another--with Ungurait, Patacek, Kherat, bus drivers, security, officers and others that haven't been made so public yet--and seen little effort for dealing with these conflicts. I have heard of, at least, two examples of attempts to harass teachers into quitting, etc. Fortunately--I guess--Dr. Lathan hasn't had enough contact with individual teachers, so these conflicts haven't reached the rank and file.

As for discipline (always my No. 1 concern), I have heard Dr. Lathan make some very strong statements about her desire to improve the school and classroom environment, etc., but I have yet to see any actions that come close to backing up the words. Certainly, minimizing the authority of security guards isn't helping. Certainly, the words don't fit Lathan's latest command that teachers who have have reason to press charges against a student must go to the police station to do so. I certainly hope that no teacher would be disciplined if he/she would call the police to come to the school since the security officers can no longer handle these situations.

Thirdly, I would want the Board of Education members to show some modicum of concern about all of the complaints leveled at this administration. I would want them to accept their role as watchdog over the district--and to let us know what they are thinking on any given issue.

I never want to hear again from any administrator or BOE member that it's all about the children. So far when the BOE offers and Lathan accepts a $10,000 bonus, then it seens more about the money than about the children. Also, it isn't all about the children--it's all about the children's education--and there is a difference in focus if the latter is the case. Let the teachers go back to being the "good" guys because the administrators are the "bad" guys you mete out just and effective consequences.
That's a good start for my wish list.

kohlrabi said...

I think the connection of textbooks and ipads in the editorial may have come from the juxtaposition of the story about ipads in classroom for students with hearing impairment, etc. that the pjstar ran the same day as Luciano's story about the textbooks not being in the classrooms.

Sharon Crews said...

kohlrabi, I gave that some thought, too--and you're probably right. I think the use of "they" said in the paragraph implies that a spokesperson from District 150 made the textbook vs. IPad comment. If no one from District 150 made such a comment, "they" should ask the PJS to clarify it.

Emerge Peoria said...

There is an unfortunate amount of snark on this thread.

Jon said...

Oh, you just beat me to post number 100.

I'm sure there's a good explanation to the delays in books. (see link)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFvujknrBuE

Teachingrocks said...

I am glad to see anonymous comments are being blocked. It was getting a bit crazy around here.

triedntrue said...

Anonymous comment was not blocked. I took it upon myself to remove the comment. For the record, it was in defense to the smart comment someone made about Emerge and Quest and it wasn't in bad taste at all. I just felt that Emerge has a very strong voice on this blog and did not need me to defend on her behalf.

triedntrue said...

Yes, they got carried away with the anonymous comments but some of us do not use their blog name because they have to sign in on public computers. Not saying that is the case of the 50 other.

Anonymous said...

Jon: just exchange John Belushi for Lathan and you've got a WINNER!

Jon said...

Anon - you remember Carrie Fisher's reply to Belushi, don't you?

Commenting said...

Ha! Just came across this snippet from an old PJStar article. Lathan's buzzwords back then were "No excuses, just results". I think she got tongue tied and meant to say "No results just excuses".

Commenting said...

Sorry here is the link: http://www.pjstar.com/news/x38424576/New-District-150-leader-in-town-today

Anonymous said...

Where have all the flowers (my blog posts) gone? :(

Emerge Peoria said...

Your "flowers" have been deleted. I consider such a large number of Anonymous comments along the line of your "flowers" SPAM. We are not opposed to snark here and I don't censor, however, I don't appreciate somebody taking over a blog post with so much snark, that it only serves to take away from the issue at hand.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Emerge...the rest of us who want to join the conversation appreciate that.

Anonymous said...

As a sub in a district school yesterday, I got to witness some reading books being delivered. What week are we on now? Ridiculous.

Sharon Crews said...

Apparently some consider this to be the worst year ever, preparation for which the superintendent was awarded a $10,000 bonus. This message has gone out to all teachers from Bobby Darling:
We have been informed by many teachers that the start of this school year has probably been the most challenging of their careers. We want everyone to know that we will be holding 3 meetings the week of Oct 24th. The purpose of these meetings will be to listen and try to address your concerns about grade level issues, curriculum, lack of materials, discipline, walk through's, testing, new initiatives and any other issues teachers would like to discuss.