Friday, January 20, 2012

Note to the inner city: The COP does not care about you

The School District shuts down schools because they "can't afford to keep them open" and inner city neighborhoods are ripped apart. The Park District closes down inner city YMCA/YWCA, limiting places where inner city children can play, thereby leaving children to make do on the streets. 

In the meantime, the COP is creating TIF Districts specifically for private developers and as soon as the TIF reaches maturity, giving payouts to private developers, rather than returning the monies back to the Districts. 

The Southtown TIF district, which was created in 1978, currently has a $4.6 million balance and will expire next year. The TIF-generated payouts SHOULD go back to taxing districts such as the School District and the Park District. Instead the COP has decided that a private developer is entitled to three-quarters of the payout. In addition, the Southtown TIF could also be tapped to pay for ongoing work in the Warehouse District. 
pjstar
 “…in 2010, $3.5 million in property tax revenues that would otherwise have gone to District 150 was redirected to City Hall for projects within the TIF districts.
David Kinney, the comptroller and treasurer of District 150

Does this sound like a City that cares about inner city children and the neighborhoods in which they live?  Not to me.

71 comments:

Emerge Peoria said...

Can somebody please send up a bat signal and get the Colored Ladies to knock some sense into these people.

Dennis in Peoria said...

1. I do strongly oppose that monies of the Southtown TiF be used to reduce the city's portion for the Marriott Hotel. I wonder if this procedure is even legal. Monies from adjacent TiFs can be transferred back and forth, but the location of the Marriott is not in a TiF.

2. In regards to Kinney's comment, the PJS article also states that the SouthTown TiF does not expire until 2013, so that the $3.5 million would not have gone to Dist. 150 or the Park District in 2010 anyway.

3. With all the controversy and delays to tear down and rebuild Southtown, this is a slap in the face to those that lived there; they told not to improve their properties, because the city was going to tear down, rebuild. And then the 1980's recession hit, and the City didn't finally finish demolition until sometime in the 1990's.

Sharon Crews said...

Dennis and Emerge, please post about this on CJ's blog--he did return to write a post on the subject of the hotel. It seems to me that this use of TIF southtown money is outrageous.

Emerge Peoria said...

Dennis... Kinny said:

"in 2010, $3.5 million in property tax revenues that would otherwise have gone to District 150 was redirected to City Hall for projects within the TIF districts.”

This is not in reference to the Southtown TIF, but other projects within the City's 11 (eleven) TIF districts.

Fly on the Wall said...

Emerge: thought you might be interested in the info, didn't know where to post...it's all yours hon!

LOOK WHO’S PRESENTING AT THE NCLB CONFERENCE 2012 CHICAGO, IL

Involving All of Your Stakeholders
This will be an interactive session on identifying and effectively utilizing all individuals (stakeholders) who interact in your building (teachers, students, parents, community members, etc.). Examples will be given and discussed on how to match stakeholders with the needs in your building as well as how to recognize and reward their efforts and time.
Presenters:
LaToy Kennedy, Peoria SD#150
Audience: All Positions
Grade Levels: All Levels
(NOT SURE WHAT SHE’S TALKING ABOUT OR WHAT HER CREDENTIALS ARE FOR SPEAKING ON THIS TOPIC) But she knows all about velcro tennis shoes….

Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps through a School-wide Enrichment Model
This workshop will explore how to implement a school-wide academic and cultural enrichment model that nurtures talents of students enrolled in schools that are underperforming. This improvement model will focus on developing gifted behaviors while tapping into a student's individual talents. The model meets the needs of all students through the use of habits of mind, creative problem solving and multiple intelligences.
Presenters:
Shameika Sykes-Patterson, Peoria School District #150
Audience: Teachers, Coordinators, Directors
Grade Levels: Early Childhood, Primary, Intermediate
(PERHAPS SHE SHOULD START BY GIVING THIS PRESENTATION TO THE TEACHERS IN HER OWN DISTRICT SINCE IT IS A CLUSTER…..)

All of this can be found on www.thecenterweb.org
I’m sure that they will be enjoying a LOVELY 3 days in Chicago at the IL taxpayer’s expense.

Sharon Crews said...

I will be convinced that administrators can walk the talk when they show everyone they can follow all their own directives through a whole semester in one of 150's lowest performing schools with classses of 28 to 30 (in classes mixed with students with IEPs).

Anonymous said...

These two have been on DOZENS of taxpayer paid conferences since they have been on the dole in D150. They are a JOKE.

Sharon Crews said...

I know that especially Kennedy took many trips last year. Some of them weren't funded by District 150 and the District said they couldn't tell me (through a FOIA) who funded the trips. I thought we should know who is doing favors for whom and why.

Anonymous said...

I believe some of her trips were funded by the Broad Institute.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone from the "watch group" go to the parents academy?

Sharon Crews said...

I heard there were five parents and 3 speakers--at least one from San Diego--expensive!!

Anonymous said...

The NC crowd at D150 came for NO other reason than to pad their resumes with conference knowledge paid for by us, the taxpapyers. My guess, they will be on the "boot scootin boogy" way, as soon as Lathan's contract is up. You know, this "team" is so fantastic, they will only go on to bigger and better things.....Hey, I hear DETROIT calling...

Anonymous said...

5! Therein lies the problem. If only parents, watchers and teachers were taking advantage of the structures that are trying to put in place, maybe our students would benefit. But, alas, tis always easier to complain and rely on tenure to protect those that do little and rail against their bosses. How ironic that most all administrators were former teachers, yet when they attempt to impose higher standards and greater accountability, the slugs of the profession lash out. Kinda like city gov't where the mouths of a few attempt to dictate to the many. Hey, if you can't teach - WalMart greet - in Detroit.

Anonymous said...

This crowd is no "imposing higher standards and greater accountability", they have created the biggest disaster I have witnessed in over a decade in this district. Hinton, who should NEVER have been in command, did a better job than this idiot. Let's get real, you don't turn a cargo ship around on a dime, without risking great damage to the cargo, evidently someone forgot to tell Lathan that. Looking into my crystal ball, I see that ISAT and PSAE scores will be LOWER than they have ever been. Teachers are working harder/longer, yet seem to be running in circles because there is NO clear direction. This McKinnon (dragon)lady has got to go. She has NO CLUE yet is FULL of ideas(very old ideas). I figured her out after the first TWO minutes with her. She is out to make Lathan look good, but it's NOT working.

Sharon Crews said...

Two Anonymouses ago--I am confused as to how "watchers" should take advantage of the structures that Lathan is trying to put into place. "Watchers" are "watchers." I have heard that Lathan is now officially--in a questionnaire--questioning teachers as to why their students are "receiving" low grades. Hint: if Lathan wants higher standards, grades will probably be lower. You can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...

"figured her out in two minutes" - gee - you must know everything! Why your students won't perform HAS to be the fault of administration. Right.

Sharon Crews said...

There are many reasons for the lack of student progress. The one cause that administrators can control (but don't) is the extent of discipline problems in a classroom that prevent students from learning and teachers from teaching. It's a matter of time--teachers are asked to spend too much time on finding ways to get behavior problems under control--or worse yet, just putting up with the problems because the administration doesn't favor consequences that would take the problems out of the regular classroom. Teachers and students are cheated of much learning and teaching time every day.
So many of the initiatives in the District are focused on behavior management--these initiatives take away from teaching time and, unfortunately, are not achieving the results promised by some of these expensive programs. What is the purpose of schools: to change behaviors or to educate? The focus depends on the answer to that question.

Anonymous said...

Sharon complains on one hand that "administrators can control discipline problems" but then says too many "initiatives" focus on "behavior management" (1.e.) - improving discipline based issues. Sounds like a typical teacher that doesn't want to be held accountable for what goes on in their classroom. Oh nooooooo - we should just expell all these poor miscreants to the streets and let teachers work in an ivory tower til pensions begin. How about a forced labor camp? Mandatory boot camp? (like there is $$$ for that). Hope and change. Right. Just don't expect any from teachers that like to chat on phones and use prep times to run errands or surf the web. Ah - but thats the administrators fault for not properly remediating poor teachers. Cry me a river.

Anonymous said...

How about students who miss 1/3 of the school year and NOBODY except the teacher questions why? How about parents who continually give WRONG phone numbers to their child's teacher? How about parents who flat out look at you and say, DON"T CALL ME WHEN MY KID MISBEHAVES, that's YOUR problem? We bend over backwards, kiss a HUGE amount of booty, never get told we are doing anything right, continually given more work beyond the classroom, yet it's OUR fault they aren't learning. Other than put cots in my classroom, wash their filthy clothes, feed them 3 squares, and LOVE them because no one else does, I don't know what some of you expect from the teachers in this district. Come visit any school "below the hill" and you will get a RUDE awakening.

Anonymous said...

Went there, been there, DOING that! But I just volunteer. Poor you, huh? Given that challenges you face THAT I AM KEENLY AWARE OF, I suggest that if your profession isn't truly a calling - go elsewhere. As you state - many of these students come from extremely troubled environments. We need dedicated professionals, not malcontents looking to sue because "they can't relate". Hope and change! Just sayn.....

Say What? said...

The Anon at 12:36 lives in a world that is not reality. Once again, Sharon is an advocate for students.

Evidently, the school board wasn't being honest with Mrs. Lathan about the issues in this district. She came expecting to pad her resume, but found a troubled district. She is padding her resume by throwing out all kinds of new initiatives at the same, and where is Pinpoint that the district bought, but is now not talking about it? She can say she began these initiatives on her resume as she climbs the ladder, but there are too many at once, and many being implemented poorly due to lack of time and proper PD.

What you typed in your little diatribe is wrong, wrong, wrong. Come on down and see whole schools on lockdown due to poor behavior. See teachers being cursed out on an hourly basis. See no support because principals get no support. It is the teacher who acts as the surrogate parent because Mom won't answer the phone to you when you call, even when the child is sick as a dog and needs to go home.

Walk a mile in our shoes. You will need a new pair every month.

Psalms said...

AMEN, Say WHat? Students sitting in class with fevers, pinkeye, nauseated/vomiting, coughing/bad colds crying because they want to go home.....yet NO ONE will come for them and we are FORCED to keep sick children in our classrooms. The district pays big bucks to bring in "speakers" for parent academy and only FIVE people show up? This should be an indicator as to WHY this district is in such a disaster. If I were Dr. Lathan, I would RUN, not walk for the first job offered my direction. The board is a "ship of fools", where "reason" does not reside. Yes, Wolfman, the schools ARE in terrible shape because of discipline, not just a FEW, MOST! Start expelling students in RECORD numbers and the word will get out; you don't follow D150 rules and policies - you will NOT be a student. When this district makes the parents have to deal with their own kids, then maybe the tide will turn. BTW, nothing wrong with a good a@@ wooping! Got plenty of my own and have never had so much as a speeding ticket. Oh, and I don't have any severe emotional problems for being spanked either, for all of you sitting on your HIGH HORSES.

Sharon Crews said...

I perhaps do understand some of the confusion about my complaints about behavior management initiatives vs my complaints about no consequences for bad behavior. I believe that consequences for bad behavior is a behavior managment tool--the main one and it isn't being used much at all.
I actually believe that some of the behavior management tools being used at the primary level have merit. However, no behavior management efforts will have a major impact if there are no consequences for bad behavior--in other words, for those kids for whom all these efforts prove futile--and there are those kids.
And as long as teachers have to teach kids how to behave, subject matter teaching will be on the back burner. That's what I meant about focus. Teachers will be working every hour every day anyway--it is just a question as to what requires their attention the most. Believe me it's easy and less stressful to teach subject matter than to teach students how to behave.
I thought Dr. Lathan was actually going to institute a bonafide alternative school (an alternative to expulsion), but apparently that isn't working too well. I have no idea what the criteria is for being placed at Woodruff.

Anonymous said...

Psalms is probably living in a bedroom community outside the district but is taking Peorians $$$$$ - otherwise they would realize the foolishness of expelling in RECORD numbers. Outta sight outta mind ain't the answer for the systemic problems that plague our urban district. but hey, keep cashn them checks and take no pride in the outcomes of your efforts. oh - and back your union that is one of the BIGGEST advocates of the status quo and welfare state. Shameful.

Sharon Crews said...

Who said anything about expulsion--I said Alternative School. Who has said anything about backing a union? And who in District 150 is backing a union? Also, why are teachers and preachers the only ones who are supposed to get a calling" into their professions? Exactly what does that mean? I understand the religious connotation of the term "calling," and I personally believed in the concept. However, very, very few people enter teaching because of a "calling." I do believe some people have the temperament for teachinng and others don't. That said, some don't have the temperament, etc., for being administrators and I think District 150 now has that problem.

Jon said...

Form a PJStar editorial last August:

"District 150 has consistently been near the top of the spectrum statewide in suspensions and expulsions, the number of children not promoted a grade, the number of students designated special ed, etc...District 150 students served 21,000 suspension days last school year, that nearly a quarter of students had at least one brush with such discipline..."

Sharon, as someone who thinks that consequences for bad behavior aren't being used much at all - are there consequences other than those mentioned by the PJStar that you think should be used, or do you think that there should be more suspensions, expulsions, etc.? I recall that you previously agreed that D150 can't force parents or students to go the alternative programs that the District has set up at Woodruff (the limited in size, regional safe school is another matter).

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, I do not believe that suspensions have any impact at all on the worst offenders (the repeat offenders about which Cloyd was so upset when he saw the statistics). In fact, the exhorbitant number of suspensions prove that they have no effect at all in changing behavior.
Most people do not understand that expulsion is not permanent--it usually lasts until the end of a semester. In fact, a student can be expelled in November and be back in 2nd semester.
Remember that many students who are expelled probably have failing grades anyway, so losing a semester (or a few weeks of a semester) is no punishment at all--it's a vacation.
Of course, the District could force a student to go to an Alternative Site--if parents are given the choice "expulsion" or Alternative School, which do you think they will choose? Also, I am not convinced that students cannot be forced to go to an Alternative Site. Are you sure that I said that 150 can't force students to go to the alternative school--I know I sleep through some of my responses. :)
Jon, what is your solution for consequences for bad behavior? If you were a teacher, what kinds of bad behaviors do you think you would be willing to tolerate--what behaviors is your wife willing to tolerate as a teacher? Or do you believe that you are capable of changing behaviors with no mandated consequences. If so, please apply for a job in 150--you are desperately needed.

Jon said...

"If parents are given the choice "expulsion" or Alternative School, which do you think they will choose?"

Judging by your description that for many, expulsion is "a vacation", I assume many will choose expulsion (further assuming those parents care enough to show up and choose). Of course, many choose the alternative program, too. Either way, it is a choice.

You've asked me for my "solution" to discipline problems before and I agree with something you've said before in that there are no magic bullets. Having many and varied approaches (PBIS carrots as well as traditional "sticks") and more localized control are options I prefer. However, I recognize the legal limitations, too, and would like to see an expansion of the regional safe school program (in particular, the funding).

I do think that criticizing someone or some group without offering meaningful solutions (or to simply refute a falsehood) is not only unproductive, but often, harmful. I understand venting that a problem exists, but all too often see how that venting turns into blaming when the blame can't be supported by fact or reasonable solution.

Sharon Crews said...

Your criticisms don't resonate with me, Jon. If you would look at my record as a teacher, you would find that I almost never wrote referrals during well over my first 30 years of teaching. I often fought for students who were on the chopping block, headed toward expulsion (when expulsion was truly expulsion). I recall one time during the "riot" years that I sought legal help for a young man who was about to be expelled--those were the years when students didn't have any legal rights. I enjoyed a rapport with students and their parents that was beyond anything I could ever have expected when I chose this career.
And many contributed (administrators, other teachers, parents, students) to the environment that allowed me to have that kind of success and joy from teaching. Teachers today do not have the advantages I had. I don't apologize for criticizing administrations that have created an environment that isn't healthy for teachers or students. My criticism are based on a fear (already at work) that the public school will soon be a thing of the past--that a good education will belong only to the elite.
Any make no mistake that one of my main concerns is and has always been for the welfare and progress of African-American students. As I see it, that group of young people is losing big time in District 150.

Jon said...

"I don't apologize for criticizing administrations that have created an environment that isn't healthy for teachers or students."

The discipline problems that you complain about are the same as any other poor urban school district. It is a societal issue and not some calculated decision by Peoria school administrators and/or school boards. That classroom sizes are increasing or that being a teacher is arguably more demanding now than at any time over the past few decades are nationwide phenomena.

Sharon Crews said...

Yes, and many of the administrators (especially superintendents) throughout the country have the same mindset about discipline--that bad behavior is the teachers' fault and, therefore, can be corrected by teachers behaving differently in the classroom. Again, the wrong solution has been selected for a real problem. The sad part, of course, is that the parents who can are seeing to it that their children escape these classrooms.
I agree that it is a societal problem now--but it affected the schools because administrators gave into it early on. Now we need to backtrack--that would be progress.
The unhealthy environment that is definitely being created by 150's current administration is that of blaming teachers for all the problems. There is a way to create an environment of productivity without the blame and distrust. You may say that teachers create the environment by complaining--what if their complaints have merit. Maybe someone (board members, in particular) should consider that possibility.

Anonymous said...

Give it a rest Sharon. When has Lathan - or any Supt. said the discipline issues "are the teachers fault?" Most understand the societal dynamics and are trying to respond, often with pushback. Teachers are often the ONLY positive adult role model for some of these students, so charging them with setting a tone SHOULD be expected. To suggest that "administrators gave into early" created the problems WE continue to confront is ridiculous! Backtrack?!? WTF! Ozzie and Harriet ain't happenin in most family units. If, on the other hand, you mean increasing parental responsibility and quit incentivizing disjointed, absent parent households through countless "entitlement" - well, then maybe. The only way to change this mess is to make young people (and their care givers) to understand that procreating doesn't automatically garner a check and housing subsidies - UNLESS they place the utmost importance and value on the educational opportunities that are provided. Screw up at school - it ought to cost you. don't apply yourself, NO free lunch. Mouth off to a teacher and get suspended (in school or outherwise) - see reduced benefits. Granted, this only affects those that receive assistance, but that would be the bulk of D150. And as Cloyd pointed out - the chronic ones are the worst and my guess is that they are not likely to come from middle class stable households.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, one would agree with some of what you said, had you not added the "WT*@!" to your post. Sharon cannot cure the social side of our country. The discipline problem in our schools is very much worse in the last 2 years. Whole schools are put on lockdown. What happens after that? Administration does not want to be accountable for anything. Board members do not want to be accountable for anything. Sharon advocates for children. You might want to look at her complete posts...or have walked a mile in her shoes. She's been there, done that, and made a difference.

Anonymous said...

Read the posts again.
Sharon advocates for teachers and rails against administration. Advocating for students is only done if it doesn't inconvenience or demand more from teachers. I've taught, volunteered, and had children go through 150. My shoes are more worn. Sorry if I offended with a wt!... - but her chronic blame is missplaced and tiresome.

Anonymous said...

Any possible way of making the background white and the lettering black. The new schematic is hard to read for long periods of time. Thanks for your consideration of my request. I'm only a lurked but I lurk everyday!

Anonymous said...

"-but her chronic blame is misplaced and tiresome." This comment sounds like some of the students I encounter in 150 on a daily basis. Misplaced- if we say it is all the teacher's fault our students don't succeed. I agree. But in reality, Lathan,et al, are trying too many initiatives at once and then when things don't work or make them look good they blame the teachers. With the exception of those "teachers" that are working solely on Wisconsin Ave. We know they are perfect.
Tiresom- Maybe it is because only a handful of constituents are listening. We need boaed members, adminstrators and members of the community to take more of an active role and hold the disruptive students and their parents truly accountable so we can truly have a viable learning environment. Until this happens we won't bear alot of fruit from the 150 tree of knowledge.

Emerge Peoria said...

A white background and black lettering is difficult for me to read for extended periods of time.

I am always trying to find something that is easier on the eyes, as I have had that request before.

Thanks for lurking!

Jon said...

"hold the disruptive students and their parents truly accountable"

How?

(Keeping in mind that, "District 150 has consistently been near the top of the spectrum statewide in suspensions and expulsions, the number of children not promoted a grade, the number of students designated special ed, etc...District 150 students served 21,000 suspension days last school year, that nearly a quarter of students had at least one brush with such discipline...")

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, you refuse to acknowledge that suspensions aren't working--that's why there are so many suspensions. When something isn't working, it's time to try something else (that seems to be a theme I've heard from you before).
The discipline problems can't be allowed to continue without trying to find a viable solution. The District spins its wheels and spends so much money on programs that can't be effective because of discipline problems--it is the District's main problem. It needs attention.

Anonymous said...

and Sharon, you refuse to acknowledge that you make statements not based on facts.

Jon said...

Thank you, Sharon! You and I agree - suspensions aren't working (at least for the chronically suspended). And, yes, D150 should be trying something else. And you seem to admit that they are trying to do some things - albeit too much at once. At least it seems that you don't want more of the same (high rates of expulsions, suspensions, etc.) So, I'll ask the question again,

"are there consequences other than those mentioned by the PJStar that you think should be used"?

You've said consequences for bad behavior haven't been used much at all by D150 administration - so what consequences did you have in mind?

Anonymous said...

Does she have to write it in the sky, so it reaches those of you who do not read her posts? She and most everybody in Peoria, Illinois...wants an alternative program, someplace for kids to go so they can replace their behaviors.

Suspensions play the role of getting grossly disrespectful, non-compliant and violent students out of the classroom. Do teachers like that? No, nobody does, but until society cures what is wrong, schools become a place where everybody is taught, until their behaviors inhibit learning.

My kids are lucky, they are in a school where very few behaviors happen. It is a good environment where teachers can teach and children can learn. That is what the city of Peoria needs. All schools should be operating in that fashion. Behaviors disrupt behaviors, that is a fact of life. Whole schools have been on lockdown, to stop the mass behaviors that happen daily in schools.

Sharon takes her suggestions right to the school board meetings, which is the protocol. Jon, when you said "And you seem to admit that they are trying to do some things - albeit too much at one" you don't understand. Just about every curriculum was replaced with new curriculum, some of it unnecessary, so somebody in NC again benefited. These "some things" did not come with proper training or thorough professional development. What we first thought would be an alternative placement turned into Woodruff, with ALL of its own problems.

Anonymous, you need to read Sharon's post. You just see what you want to, and rail on here.

Jon said...

There are already alternative programs. The ONLY ONE wherein a student can be placed against their will is the regional safe schools program, which is very limited in funding. Sharon blames the administration for not putting in place something in which they have no legal authority to do.

Anonymous, would you care to explain the problems that the alternative program at Woodruff has?

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, maybe the consequences suggested by Board Member Cloyd, who very clearly, loudly, and with conviction stated that the repeat offenders should not be allowed to be in school. Now I don't know what he wants to do with the repeat offenders, but I do know that he was appalled that they are allowed continually to disrupt the learning process. Evidently, Cloyd has not yet been told what consequences are legal or illegal--maybe you should let him know.

Sharon Crews said...

P.S., Anonymous, please let me know what statements I am making that aren't based on facts. Blanket accusations are not too effective. I write much and often, so I would appreciate your being specific so that I can either defend my "facts" or apologize if I'm proven wrong. Much of what I say is opinion based on the facts as I see them--and we are all entitled to express our opinions and to disagree with those expressed by others. I agree that much is often "in the eye of the beholder" and there are many different points of view from which to view District 150. My point of view is that of a retired teacher who still cares about District 150's future and that of the children who have no choice but to go to District 150. Yes, and I am still an advocate for teachers because I know more than a little bit about what it's like to be a teacher--administrators have been out of the classroom long enough to have almost totally lost that perspective.

Anonymous said...

No, there is not only one where kids can be placed.

Jon, you need to be here to know what is going on at Woodruff. Their students are no different than the rest of the district's. Several teachers have walked out and never returned due to disrespect. Check out the last HR Report...they hired 4 new teachers for Woodruff. Don't forget, Greeley's program is at Woodruff also. It is the same ole stuff all over the district. We need an alternative program where kids are taught to replace behaviors, not just serve time.

Jon said...

"repeat offenders should not be allowed to be in school"

In other words, more expulsions.

Jon said...

Did you notice that I said "against their will"?

Yes, teaching in an alternative school is a very difficult job. And I agree that a goal of replacing behaviors is preferable to serving time. Does it really surprise anyone that "replacing behaviors" is a very difficult task that takes a lot of time and an alternative school is no miracle cure?

Sharon Crews said...

Come on, Jon, give us your solutions. Criticizing our solutions is a copout. You have acknowledged the problem. Do we have to settle for "it's society's fault and nothing can be done."
By the way, I think some of the behavior management programs in the primary schools are working--in classrooms where only some "fine-tuning" is necessary. In classrooms where there are several or even many students who do not have the social skills required for a classroom, these bandaids aren't going to work. Maybe there is no solution and the schools will just become "holding cells."
Evidently, charter schools aren't the answer either since all I am hearing about Quest indicates the same problems exist there.

Jon said...

First of all, I'm not the one saying "the administration isn't doing anything" or is "blaming teachers for everything" or that "there are no consequences for bad behaviors" and the rest of that hyperbole. Nor have I claimed "nothing can be done".

I've already explained what I'd like to see not only in an earlier post on this thread, but on many others. I will add that I think I think the concept of balanced and restorative justice sounds promising as well, but of course it isn't a magic pill, either. But since you've seemed to overlook what I've already said, I'll restate my main point:

I do think that criticizing someone or some group without offering meaningful solutions (or to simply refute a falsehood) is not only unproductive, but often, harmful. I understand venting that a problem exists, but all too often see how that venting turns into blaming when the blame can't be supported by fact or reasonable solution. You can work together to try and find solution on a problem that requires involvement from many stakeholders, or continue to just complain and blame.

Sharon Crews said...

Jon, teachers aren't being asked to help; they are being asked to follow orders. Nobody is asking anybody to work together--the current administration isn't that kind of regime. If people are going to work together, they have to talk to each other--freely. There are principals in 150 who are capable of that kind of dialogue and working together; however, the orders come from above to principals, as well as to teachers, with very little interaction--no opportunity to say--this isn't working but maybe this would, etc.
Teachers can't go to the central administrators or board members and say, "Let's work together." The invitation has to come from the administrators--and no such invitations have been issued.
Maybe you have a boss to whom you can say, "Things aren't working too well. Could we talk about finding solutions?"
There is always the possibility that I'm listening to the wrong people; however, I haven't heard any teachers praising what is happening in District 150. I guess it's possible that they can all be wrong in their perceptions--but I find them to be convincing.

Jon said...

I agree that Lathan's administration appears to be overly centralized. However, aren't teachers represented by a union who can speak to the administration and board on their behalf? Lathan seems to work pretty well with Bobby Darling and he was recently re-elected, correct? Several months ago a commenter on this blog said that it was "in process" that Bobby would be recalled or removed for effectively being an administrator instead of a teacher. Whatever happened to that?

You might want to take a look at restorative justice as used in schools, here:

http://www.icjia.sta te.il.us/public/pdf/ BARJ/SCHOOL BARJ GUIDEBOOOK.pdf

It's already been used in some Peoria schools to a small degree.

Sharon Crews said...

Dr. Lathan was smart to give Bobby Darling a job at the board rooms--she has succeeded in neutralizing the union leadership. Lathan and Darling do seem to have a good relationship--but it isn't benefitting teachers. I'm very sorry to say that because quite honestly I like Bobby (you know one of those former students). It's absolutely unheard of to have a union president who isn't a teacher. Bobby reportedly isn't representing teachers, but, as you said, the teachers re-elected him, so they have created this situation. "Restorative justice"--I will take a look at the article--but the title sound ominous.

Anonymous said...

Yep - teachers chose Bobby over your good friend.
What does that say about perceived leadership capabilities?

Anonymous said...

Starting with "administration...blaming teachers for all the problems". There are many more but I have to get ready to volunteer. If the eye of the beholder is shielded by blinders, it creates warped perceptions.

Sharon Crews said...

What it says is that very few teachers voted--very low turnout. and the election was before the events since Dr. Lathan's arrival. I am not sure what you mean by "perceived" leadership--as to who is doing the perceiving about which leader. However, I will say that there are a significant number of teachers who have (maybe had, don't know) a loyalty to Bobby. There are schools in District 150 that do not have significant discipline problems--where things run rather smoothly, so they do or did not see the need for new leadership. Also, there are or were a significant number of non-tenured teachers who just hadn't been here long enough to get the total picture. That job is not one to envy--so much grief, so much responsibility, and so much time to do a good job. Also, I hold out the possibility that Bobby could still change course.

Anonymous said...

Restorative Justice has been talked about in Peoria. Nothing going on with it though.

Nobody chose Bobby over anybody's good friend. We need different leadership since the union officials are now on Wis Ave, and doing the same thing the school board is doing...just saying yes without details or questioning.

Why you think Sharon should have every answer is beyond all of us. She has fought the good fight for children of Peoria...and she made a difference.

Frustrated said...

Jon - Been following you and Sharon's debate about school discipline. I think the District is trying, however, my impression is that the District's approach is one of crowd control rather than implementing policies that change behavior and deliver consequences to those at fault. You need to "teach" students how to behave.

An example: When my child began Richwoods this fall, she and many other students liked to arrive at around 7 (school begins at 7:30). This 1/2 hour allows students to have time to put things away in their locker (if you play a sport you need to stop at 2 lockers at opposite ends of the building), meet with a teacher, ask a friend about a home work question, socialize a bit (after all these are young adults), and still be on time to class.

Well, about a month after school began, a policy came down that students were not allowed to enter the school until 7:15, apparently, there were too many fights before school and so limiting the time students were in the halls was the solution. Students are now corralled in the entry to the school until a bell rings.

My child does not have a behavior problem and it would be her position that there are many, many students doing the right thing at Richwoods and so why should she or others' freedom of movement and ability to enjoy school be taken away because of the action of others.

The school, in this situation adjusted the environment but did nothing to alter the behavior and teach students how to act in a civil manner. High school is a time for students to begin taking responsibility for managing themselves and feel the full force of the consequences of the choices they make, both good and bad. The proper course would have been to continue to allow students to enter the building at 7 but make it clear that misbehavior would be dealt with swiftly and then monitor the halls and discipline offenders accordingly.

My child previously attended a high school where students were trusted and had freedom of movement and it was presumed that students would do the right thing until they proved otherwise. I think the District needs to set a different tone - set the bar of expectation higher.

Emerge Peoria said...

Unfortunately children enjoy the attention and drama they get when restorative justice tactics are used. I have seen peace circles held where the only person that gets something out of it is the victim... they feel even more victimized.

It's 10:00 a.m. already the PPD has been called to Thomas Jefferson and Lincoln Middle School.

Sharon Crews said...

Frustrated, you are right. District 150 tries (unsuccessfully) to limit the opportunities for misbehaving so that there can be fewer problems and, therefore, fewer consequences. However, as you pointed out in this example, the only students who are really inconvenienced are the students who use their time wisely and need the time.
I might add again--the District's leniency toward misbehaving students (those who are truly beyond help in a regular school setting) are being harmed, not helped. The District, more recently bolstered by NCLB requirements, believe that the graduation rate is the one goal they can met; therefore, some high school students get by with poor attendance, tardiness, poor grades, and bad behavior so that the graduation goal can be met. They are constantly protected by the system--however, when and if they do graduate, they are not prepared to make it in the world and end up on the streets. The leniency isn't helping anybody.

Sharon Crews said...

Thanks, Emerge, I had no idea that restorative justice involved peace circles--you are so right about those results. Did anyone see the Office episode (quite some time ago) about peace circles. What a joke! My own opinion is that most of the peer counseling efforts are very, very ineffective.

teacher said...

People on this blog need to visit a High school and walk the halls during passing time. See how you feel. I just don't understand why we try to act like we can't figure out what is wrong; DISCIPLINE!!!! fIX THAT AND SCHOOL BECOMES A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AGAIN. Until that happens, forget about everything else.

As far as the union leadership, they all need to go. They are not in it for the teachers, because none of them are teachers.

Anonymous said...

Guess Sharon is like admin - won't admit when they are wrong.

Jon said...

Couldn't bring yourself to actually read the document, huh? The concept of restorative justice can be applied to varying degrees and need not require peace circles.

Sharon Crews said...

Well, Jon, I guess I could expect you to jump to that conclusion. I tried to find the article but couldn't get to it with your website info. However, I did Google "Restorative Justice"--didn't look hard enough to locate educational information. Then Emerge offered some concrete explanation.

Jon said...

That link was for the pdf file itself. Here's one for the website:

http://www.icjia.state.il.us/public/index.cfm?metasection=forms&metapage=publications&pub=BARJ

I'd have made it a hyperlink if I could, but you can just copy and paste it. The document is the most recent one listed.

Sharon Crews said...

I was able to get to the site. Am I wrong in assuming two things: this method is a one-on-one effort; highly trained personnel would be required.
I assume this is a method used for those who have committed and been charged with a crime.
Wouldn't using this method in school be very costly? If putting students in an alternative site requires parental consent, wouldn't this program require parental consent if used in school?

Jon said...

1. It's not one on one. Ideally, the process/philosophy involves multiple parties.

"Schools may involve a wide range of people in the restorative justice process, including the victims, who are often teachers, school staff, bystanders, and other students, and the school community."

2. It's not solely for students who have committed crimes.

"The restorative justice philosophy as applied to schools views MISCONDUCT as a violation against people and damaging to relationships in the school and throughout the community."

The amount of expense and training varies would naturally vary depending on the level of integration.

"Schools may implement restorative justice in varying degrees, from a single program to a permeating school philosophy. Restorative justice can be implemented through daily practices used by everyone in the school, from administrators to students, or as a formal program available to students who have violated school rules."

Sharon Crews said...

I am all for anything that works in changing behaviors. Kids find ways to use systems--meaning the programs don't help them. I know I am a cynic--don't want to be; I have just seen so many of these things tried and fail.
However, I am all for anything that yields positive results. For instance, suspensions don't work because the suspended students rarely regard suspensions as a punishment to avoid in the future. They just play the system until they rack up enough misdeeds to get suspended again. The only people who "benefit" from suspensions might be the teachers and the students in the class who can have a few days without the problems--although each class usually has someone else to pick up the slack.
I hope that somewhere out there is an idea that will truly change behaviors. I do believe that many of these young people have deep-seated problems that prevent them from adhering to rules, etc. I do have sympathy for these kids--they are victims beyond our comprehension. I never mean to sound as though I am heartless--I have cared about so many of these kids and have felt powerless to help them. Unfortunately, by the time they get to high school some of these kids are so deep into criminal behavior, anger, etc., that helping them find a way out requires training no teacher has. Of course, I have always believed that churches have some of the answers for these young people. As a believer in the Christian message and its power, I believe that faith is the way to turn lives around. In fact, if you listen to the stories of many of these reformed youth, you will find that the reform was really conversion.
All that said, the truth is that teachers can't teach with these troubled youth disrupting their classes--and keeping the kids in the classes doesn't help them either.
Frankly, a viable alternative school would have to provide some kind of psychological help for these young people--otherwise, the alternative school will be just as unproductive for them.

Emerge Peoria said...

With some effort, I was able to access the PDF. I have seen restorative justice in use, without administrators explaining the process or following through on it. If there are no efforts to get students and families to buy in piecemeal applications do not work.

My thinking is if you have a student caught in the midst of efforts to restore justice, it is tiresome and you simply want the issues to be resolved and children to behave, so the real learning can begin.

Unfortunately some students enjoy the drama and attention they get and bad behaviors are very slow to change. In the meantime, the children who are prepared and want to learn are losing valuable time.

Ruby Claire said...

and some issues still have to be revealed.


Bullying Questionnaire